SPOKANE, Wash. — Ironman 2021 in Coeur d’Alene is quickly approaching and that means volunteers are desperately needed to help aid the athletes on their 140.6-mile journey.
There are usually 1,200 volunteers signed up by this point but race officials believe the pandemic has hindered their normal volunteer numbers. Although it’s an exciting time to have the triathlon return, all hands have to be on deck, according to the Director of Volunteers Michelle Haustein.
“Unfortunately with COVID hitting, a lot of people got scared to register,” Haustein explained.
The Ironman isn’t your typical race. The world-famous triathlon consists of three separate legs that include a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride, and a 26.2 mile run through the city. Participants are granted 17 full hours to complete it all and if they can do so they earn the official title of being called an Ironman.
Because of how long the race is, volunteers are essential to help with the whole process.
“But this year we’re struggling a little bit more and I want the volunteers and those that want to come out to know that we’ll protect you just like we protect the athletes.”
The last full Ironman in Coeur d'Alene was held in 2017. Another one was supposed to take place last year before being canceled because of the pandemic.
Some of the areas that have plenty of open volunteer spots are the bike aid stations and bike sector pointers who help guide the bikes.
Crowd control also needs help ,so anyone interested in signing up can find available spots on the Ironman website. With a race that lasts for hours, there are different time slots and even days leading up to the race that can be volunteered.
“Athletes are excited to be here, our hotels are full again,” said Haustein. “Our community is starting to see a breath of fresh air.”
One of the fun things about the volunteer stations is that many of them create themes for their stations so you might see a Christmas table or even an Oompa Loompa table passing out water.
The race will take place on Sunday, June 27. Any volunteers interested in signing up can also send an email to Imcoeurdalene@ironmanvolunteers.com.