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Four-time world champion Daniella Ryf leads the women’s professional division of the Ironman World Championship, which takes place in and around St. George today, May 7, 2022 | Photo courtesy of Ironman Facebook Page, St. George News

ST. GEORGE- Early Saturday morning, more than 2,500 top triathletes from around the world plunged into the cold water of Sand Hollow Reservoir as the Ironman World Championship triathlon kicked off.

As the sun rose over sandstone landscapes, riders swam 2.4 miles through the reservoir, a simple warm-up before rushing out of the water to set their bikes on a 112-mile ride.

Taking athletes beyond the surrounding red rock wilderness that serves as the hallmark of Greater Zion, the cycle route runs from Hurricane to Gunlock and is known for its rolling hills, including a relentless 4-mile climb.

Swapping bikes for running shoes, runners will then embark on the home stretch: a 26.2-mile marathon that will start in a transition zone on Tabernacle Street. From there, athletes will head to Bluff Street and then follow the course to Snow Canyon Parkway, passing through Mathis Park, a new stop along the way and a great spot for spectators.

The race culminates in the heart of St. George in Town Square, where both the finish line and the Ironman Village are located.

Runners will be crossing the finish line until the wee hours of Sunday morning, and St. George News is here to cover you along the way with live updates you can find here.

10:30 a m: Men navigating a flat section of the ride; women work towards St. George

The five men in the leading pack of the professional division have returned to St. George and are on Snow Canyon Drive. Meanwhile, Daniella Ryf has widened her lead and is pedaling along National Road 18. Her lead remains around 1 minute, 15 seconds.

Commentators on the Ironman Facebook Live show suggest that increased temperatures and winds are likely to have a greater impact on age group participants later today.

10:12 a m: Hilly sections challenge leaders

Braden Currie takes the lead on a climb around the 70-mile mark of the Ironman cycling leg, May 7, 2022 | Photo courtesy of Ironman Facebook Page, St. George News

Braden Currie begins a long climb – “The Wall” – to briefly take the lead near Veyo, while Kyle Smith, Florian Angert, Sam Laidlow and Daniel Baekkegard continue to push the pace in the lead pack. American Sam Long is currently 11th. Runners are now in a hilly, rural section of the race west of St. George. Daniella Ryf continues to lead the women’s pro division by nearly a minute over Kat Mattews at 70 miles in the bike leg. She continues to direct Kat Mattews, Lisa Norden and American Sky Moench

Current temperature: 78 degrees; the expected high is 91 with possible wind gusts of more than 30 mph, according to the National Weather Service.

9:8 p.m.: Ryf repays the advance; Smith leads the tight field in the men’s leading group

Daniella Ryf holds a 10-second lead in the Women’s Pro Division over Kat Matthews and Sky Moench. On the men’s side, Kyle Smith, Sam Laidlow, Daniel Baekkegard, Braden Currie, Florian Argent and Cameron Wurf form the leading pack at the 3rd hour.

Kyle Smith leads Daniel Baekkegard for 64 miles in the 112-mile Ironman cycling segment, May 7, 2022 | Photo courtesy of Ironman Facebook Page, St. George News

8:35 a.m.: Early leaders

Lisa Norden of Sweden leads the women’s professional division after 2 hours and 15 minutes of competition. She finished the swim in 52:39. She is followed by Daniella Ryf from Switzerland, Kat Matthews from Great Britain and Sky Moench from the United States. They are currently 32 miles into the bike portion.

Kyle Smith of New Zealand leads the men’s pro division, 42 miles into the bike leg. He is followed by Sam Laidlow from France and Daniel Baeldegard from Denmark. Sam Long is currently the top American in the men’s pro division and sits in 13th place, about 4 minutes behind the leader.

France’s Sam Laidlow (front right) was the first out of the water after completing the swim leg of the Ironman World Championship on Saturday morning at Sand Hollow | Photo by G. Eric Goold, St. George News

UPDATE 7:07: Laidlow first out of the water; cyclists on the red cliffs

Sam Laidlow of France was the first Ironman competitor out of the water as the Ironman swim event kicked off on Saturday morning. And at 8:05 a.m., the first cyclists began to climb Red Hills Parkway.

Click here for the swim-to-bike transition video.

The Race begins: Triathletes begin their 140.6 mile journey

Click here for the start video.

Photo gallery

Washington City spectators watch a cyclist Saturday morning during the Ironman World Championships, May 7, 2022 | Photo courtesy of Lisa Cappiello, St. George News
An Ironman competitor climbs a hill in Washington City, May 7, 2022 | Photo courtesy of Lisa Cappiello, St. George News

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