sport of spectating ironman boulder

Boulder is such a gorgeous venue for not only a vacation, but also for an Ironman race. It truly offers it all. The community has tons of wonderful activities, indoors and out, and really, really good restaurants filled with fresh seasonal cuisine. If you’re headed to town and will be spectating Ironman Boulder, lucky you!

Here’s some information on the race and tips for having the best spectating day to cheer your triathlete on…

  • The Welcome Ceremony starts Friday at 6 pm at the Boulder City Park Bandshell at 13th and Canyon. Live music will entertain. Food is provided for athletes and can be purchased for friends and family. There will also be a complimentary beer garden.
  • There doesn’t appear to be an IRONKIDS Fun Run this year.
  • The Awards Ceremony takes place on Monday at 9:30 am on the lawn at Boulder High School with rolldown for Kona slots at 11 am.
  • Both athletes and supporters have to take the shuttle to the swim start at Boulder Reservoir. There are no exceptions, including walking and riding. They run from Boulder High School starting at 4 am going to the swim start and from 4:30 am – 5 pm returning.
  • Parking is available at multiple city lots in town.
  • You can buy VIP packages through Ironman for yourself and/or the kids that give you some special viewing spots, food, and a place to sit. Prices are steep, however, at $255 and $510 (get to medal your triathlete) and $153 for kids.
  • Registration for next year’s race opens from 8 – 10 am on Monday.
  • You can track your triathlete on the Ironman website or through the Ironman Tracker app which can be downloaded for free. If you haven’t tried this app, we recommend that you do.
  • Check out our Food and Fun guides for great places to eat and things to do if you’re staying after the race.


As noted above, you have to take the shuttle to and from the swim start at the Boulder Reservoir. The men pros start at 6:05 and women at 6:10 with the age group rolling start at 6:20 am. It’s a one loop swim. Once you see your triathlete exit the swim and head out of T1 on the bike course, you can enjoy the Spectator Lawn near the shuttle drop off. They’ll have live music, food trucks, volleyball, swimming, and a beer garden.

how best to spectate ironman boulder swim

Photo credit Ironman.


The bike course is 2 loops. From T1, you’ll see your triathlete get on their bike and ride a mile through the Reservoir before they head out on the course, which is closed to spectators. They then return and start their run at the Reservoir, too. It’s at this point that you need to get the shuttle back to Boulder High School for the finish.


The 2 loop run course takes place mostly outside of the city and then along the Boulder Creek Path and around Central Park. They make a turn around in town at 6th St. There should be plenty of shade if it’s a hot, sunny day. Some choices include the library lawn, Boulder High School, or Scott Carpenter Park. People also just line the Boulder Creek Path to cheer. It’s always a good idea to make plans before race day and let your triathlete know where you expect to be cheering them on. Just make sure you make your way back to town to see them come into the finish.

what are spectating tips at ironman boulder

Photo credit Ironman.


The triathletes come down Arapahoe Avenue and round the bend to 13th Street and Canyon Road after loop two to the finish line.

Helpful hints on Ironman Boulder: One of our readers who lives in town, Heidi, wanted to share some helpful hints on the race from her husband, Tim, who has competed and is part of the Ironman Foundation Newton Running Ambassador’s Triathlon Team. So, all you supporters out there reading this, give the information to your triathlete doing the race. We just love to share inside information…

My hubby wanted to pass along a few potentially helpful tidbits to incoming triathletes…

  • Mirrored goggles would be very helpful.
  • The first 6+ miles of the bike is a false flat; it’s really up hill.
  • Because of the altitude, don’t burn too many matches on the short, steep climbs.
  • Keep hydrating…your sweat is evaporating faster.
  • For those that are interested, Newton Running is headquartered in Boulder with a flagship store on Pearl Street. It’s GREAT to visit if you wear their shoes.
  • Retul Bike Fit and Training Peaks are also headquartered in Boulder, as well.

And, don’t forget to download your copy of the Ironman Spectator’s Guide and to check their website for any updates.