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Southern Utah preparing for St. George Ironman

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Posted at 6:23 PM, May 01, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-02 00:21:58-04

ST. GEORGE, Utah - Southern Utah is turning into a world-class triathlon track. The St. George Ironman competition is set to take place Saturday morning.

2,500 amateur athletes and dozens of pros will come to St. George for the event. Crews spent Wednesday transforming town square into Ironman central.

"They're setting up the tents, All of the expo that will go on, the merchandising, athlete registration, all that stuff," says St. George tourism office sports marking director Kevin Lewis. "They're laying out the course markings, and everything there."

This is the fourth year the race has come to the red rocks, but this year there are some changes. Instead of a full 140.6 miles, it's only 70.3. But Lewis says the buzz around the event hasn't decreased.

"It's still Ironman," says Lewis. "It's just a different style of race and this one's going to be a lot faster. The people will start faster and they'll go all out."

St. George police will also have an added presence. Sgt. Sam Despain says in light of the recent bombing at the Boston Marathon, they're stepping up security and ask residents to be patient with added measures and closed roads.

"We want to make sure we have the proper security in place," says Despain. "We've developed a great security plan. We are increasing officer presence."

The event wouldn't be possible without over 2,000 volunteers who take time to run help athletes, man booths and show participants they way. Tom Schultz is one of those. He's volunteered every year since the race started in St. George, and says it's just another reason Dixie is a great place for outdoor sport.

"A lot of work and I'm anxious to see it when the event actually happens," says Schultz. I'm looking forward to volunteering."

The triathlon starts Saturday morning. More information on the event, along with maps showing road closures can be found at www.ironman.com.