Augusta Mayor joins thousands of competitors gearing up for Ironman

Augusta Mayor joins thousands of competitors gearing up for Ironman

AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - Thousands of triathletes are already pouring into Augusta for the world's largest half Ironman.

Fox54 went through Intermedix Augusta Ironman registration Friday with a man who could arguably be one of the city's favorite competitors, Mayor Deke Copenhaver.

This will be his third year swimming down the Savannah River, biking through Aiken County and pounding Augusta's downtown pavement for the 70.3 mile Ironman.

He says he's been waiting a long time for this weekend. He had to sit out last year because of an Achilles tendon injury.

Copenhaver is the first U.S. mayor to finish the three legs of a sponsored Ironman in his own city.

His last best time was 6 hours and 19 minutes. He says he's hoping to shave a few minutes off the clock Sunday.

"This year I just say I'm going to have a good time. I've got a time on my mind; I've always wanted to go under six hours. We'll see if that happens this year. Just to be back in the field, just to be a part of it, I'm just happy to be a part of it so we'll see. The time is what it is," he said.

Copenhaver will be 1 of about 3,500 triathletes and that translates into a lot of dollars for Augusta.

"We estimate that it's about $4 million in direct visitor spending into our community just for this weekend, so that's really exciting," said CEO of the Augusta Sports Council Brinsley Thigpen.

She says the Ironman sold out weeks earlier than it has before and a record number of people have registered for the race.

Sunday will be the fifth year it's been in Augusta.