FRANKFORT — The Frankfort Ironman triathlon hasn’t even happened yet, but organizers have already determined it will be returning to the small Lake Michigan community for another year.
Ironman 70.3 set a date for next year’s race at Sept. 11, 2022, joining six other races as part of the North American Ironman TriClub Championship Series. The other locations are Panama City Beach, Fla.; Musselman, N.Y.; Lake Placid, N.Y.; Frankfort, Mich.; Seattle, Wash.; and Palm Springs, Calif.
Traverse City hosted the race in 2019. It was scheduled to return for 2020, but the coronavirus pandemic canceled it, including many other races of similar size across the nation.
Race officials had relocated the large event to Frankfort, starting in 2021, as part of a multi-year deal, according to a press statement in December. Registration began a few weeks later. A partnership between Traverse City Tourism, Benzie County Hotels and TC Tourism landed the deal that could last up to three years.
The 2019 Ironman event in TC was met with great customer reviews, rating it as one of the best events in North America in several categories, but also saw negative feedback because of road closures and inconvenience.
This led officials to seek other host sites outside of downtown Traverse City to eliminate travel restrictions and affect a less densely populated area.
Travelers won’t see as many major road closures at the Frankfort event. But the Michigan State Police expect extreme delays for travelers along most of M-22 from Empire to Benzonia.
A detour route will stretch from Fowler Road to Herron Road at M-22, routing traffic through U.S. 31.
The only road that will be fully closed to vehicles is Main Street in Frankfort, from Michigan St. to 3rd St. from 1 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and from 7th St. to 9th St. from 5 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.
The rest of the route will remain open to local traffic — but with a very high volume of athletes on the road. Roads and intersecting streets along the route may have limited access, MSP said.
For race day traffic assistance on and navigation information Sept. 12 it will be provided via the Waze GPS app on iOS or Android. More information will be provided at IRN.MN/MichiganTrafficImpact