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Improvements Made for the 2019 IRONMAN 70.3 Indian Wells LaQuinta

2018 IRONMAN athletes swimming in Lake Cahuilla
2018 IRONMAN athletes swimming in Lake Cahuilla

The iconic IRONMAN series of events is the largest mass participation sports platform in the world. Since its inception in 1978, the brand has grown to become a global sensation with more than 230 events across 53 countries. But when an undertaking this large comes to your backyard, there are certain to be growing pains for event producers and the community.

The bike racecourse moves further east in 2019.

The second annual IRONMAN 70.3 Indian Wells La Quinta will take place December 8, and community leaders and event producers are enthusiastic about the improvements made to minimize traffic congestion and maximize athlete safety.

The event is expected to once again attract over 2,300 triathletes from around the world who will swim 1.2 miles in Lake Cahuilla, bike 56 miles through the east valley, and then run 13.1 miles through Indian Wells. While there were no major issues reported with athletes last year, La Quinta officials heard quite a bit from the public, so addressing community concerns is top of the list. 

2018 athletes ranked the desert venue higher than the global average.
2018 athletes ranked the desert venue higher than the global average.

“Our priorities are to have a safe race and to hold an outstanding event that has minimal impact on La Quinta residents and our greater community,” says La Quinta Community Resource Director Chris Escobedo. “We are creating a route that is streamlined, allows for circulation and reduces the impacts felt last year.” 

The bike course has been moved further east to free up Washington Street with Jefferson as the primary corridor heading north and Miles Avenue to the Tennis Gardens for the westbound route. A vast outreach program will also be put in place to inform commuters of viable detours. 

“We are working with neighboring communities and the county to establish a regional traffic and circulation plan encouraging eastbound travelers to use Fred Waring for those hours of the day,” says Escobedo adding that Jefferson and 111 will be the area to avoid during race hours.

Enhanced outreach has already begun and includes mailers, community meetings and traffic visuals placed along the race route a month in advance. The city will also help market promotional offers by local businesses for participants and spectators as the economic benefits of hosting an IRONMAN 70.3 triathlon can be significant. Host towns including Boulder, Colorado; Chattanooga, Tennessee; St. George, Utah; and Santa Rosa, California, report an economic impact of $6M-$10M annually.

Event producers stated that athletes “overwhelmingly enjoyed” the inaugural event ranking the IRONMAN 70.3 Indian Wells La Quinta higher than the global average in multiple areas including Overall Venue Experience, Overall Host City Experience and IRONMAN Village Location.

“We feel that the IRONMAN 70.3 Indian Wells La Quinta is one of the best races in the IRONMAN 70.3 circuit and offers a truly unique race experience for the athletes and spectators alike,” says Race Director Sabrina Houston. “We have fostered a good relationship with the host communities since first announcing this event and want to continue to build on the successes we have had.”

Community members are encouraged to cheer on athletes along the race route or to view the swim at Lake Cahuilla or the finish at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. 

For additional information, visit or call the IRONMAN outreach coordinator at (442) 227.5039. 

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