UPDATE: This article has been updated to reflect the 2017 schedule.
It’s Ironman 70.3 California Oceanside time!!! If you’re not from California, I’m sure you’re SO ready for some fun in the sun. I know I am. Hopefully, you have read our Food & Fun Places to Eat and Things to Do, so you know what to do and where to eat while you’re in the area. We’ve given you some great ideas for both activities.
But, now it’s on to why we’re going in the first place – watching our triathlete have a great race. If you don’t already know, the race is not all in one location and there is only one transition area by the Harbor. The swim takes place in the Oceanside Harbor, so you either need to walk, drive, or catch a shuttle (info under tips). The bike in and out and run start are also at the Harbor and then the rest of the run and finish line are down by the Oceanside Pier. As always, we recommend you plan for this prior to race day and to check for any changes. And, don’t forget this is a Saturday race!!!!!
If you have kids, you may want to register them for the IRONKIDS California Fun Run on Friday. The race starts at the Oceanside Pier Area at 5pm. This is a great chance for them to literally run in mom or dad’s shoes! You can register online or at the Junior Seat Pier Ampitheater from 10pm-4:30pm Thursday and Friday before the race.
Here are the TRIWIVESCLUB’S tips for making the most of your spectating experience:
The swim starts and finishes at the boat ramp at Oceanside Harbor. It is one loop with the pros starting at 6:40am and then there’s an age group rolling start at 6:50 am. In my experience, it hasn’t been so crowded that you can’t get a good spot to view their start. You can even get out on the dock and get a really good view.
You won’t see them again, however, until they come out of the water. The bike start is very close by, so once you see your athlete come out of the water, you have time to get to the transition area and see them off on their bike.
The bike starts and finishes at Oceanside Harbor. It is one loop, so once they leave the Harbor, you won’t see them until they complete the bike segment. Don’t really think about taking your car to follow your athlete on the bike. It is not recommended and there are multiple street closures. Plus, much of the race is through Camp Pendleton and no spectators are allowed on base.
There are places to grab a bite to eat or coffee at the Harbor, if you choose to stay. If not, you can catch a shuttle back to town (see under tips below) or walk – it’s just over 1 mile – and wait to see them on the run.
Once they return on their bike, they head out from from the Harbor and come down The Strand for a two-loop run, mostly along The Strand and Pacific St.
There are plenty of spots for viewing and multiple opportunities along the route, so you can take your pick. For instance, they circle the area and go up the Pier, so you can actually stand on The Strand below and see them head up and then when they come back down before they head out on N. Pacific St.
Have a look at the Run Course Map so you get an idea of where you want to position yourself. You probably don’t want to venture too far during the run, especially if you want to see them after the first loop and give them that big boost to carry them to the finish.
The finish line is on The Strand right by the Pier. They will be coming in from the south, heading north on The Strand. You can be down by Wisconsin Ave. and The Strand and see them come in and then follow them down to the finish.
- Make sure you bring treats and water for the kids to the swim start. You can get coffee along the walk from the shuttle and there are places to eat at the Harbor, but it never hurts to come prepared with your own, especially if you are short on time. Also, jackets are usually a good idea that early in the am, even in California!
- To track your athlete, you have several options. You can download several apps on iTunes – the IMtrackr or Ironmobile, both of which we have found very reliable and tend to use or go to the Ironman website on race day and click on the race coverage box.
- Shuttles – They are scheduled to run from 4:30am – 5:30pm. To get to the Harbor for the swim, they will pick you up near Civic Center Parking Garage or the corner of Pierview and Cleveland. They will drop you off at Near Harbor at Pacific & Breakwater, where you will have to walk the rest of the way to transition – about 1/4 mile. This is also where they will pick you up after the swim, if you don’t want to walk back to the Pier.
- Parking – If you aren’t staying close by and need parking on race day, athletes will be given parking passes to available parking lots on a first-come first-serve basis. They will be given information on where to park with the pass. Everyone will have to catch the shuttle or walk the mile to the Harbor. If you aren’t with them and will need parking later, there will be parking available along the streets (free meters). I’m leaving this info in on the parking structures from last year, but I’m honestly not sure if it’s correct, so you need to verify at the race. For the structures, it is recommended that you take I-5 to Mission Avenue exit and head west. Then choose either:
- Turn right onto Horne Street and then left onto Civic Center Drive. The structure is on your left.
- Turn left onto Cleveland and the structure is on your right, just past Seagaze Drive.
- The Awards Ceremony and championship slots roll down will take place at 4pm at the Junior Seau Pier Ampitheatre, if you have a qualifying athlete or are interested in being a part of the ceremony.
Happy spectating and best wishes for a fun and safe race for all!
DO YOU HAVE ANY SPECTATING TIPS FOR IRONMAN 70.3 OCEANSIDE?
Sherry is one of the TriWivesClub and LifeDoneWell co-founders and contributes to multiple blogs. She is a former co-owner of the California Apparel News and had a career in the healthcare industry. Her passions include traveling, real food, the environment, and animal rescue/welfare. She lives a healthy lifestyle and has been a vegetarian since 1987. She and her husband are parents to two rescue pups and reside in Connecticut.