AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Downtown Augusta prepares for another big annual event happening this weekend.  

Arts in the Heart of Augusta may be over, but  downtown Augusta has just a few days to prepare for this year’s Ironman race.

Organizers and downtown business owners tell us just how they’re getting ready. 

Ironman Augusta 2023 will be happening this Sunday, September 24th. 

“People come from all over to try out Augusta,” said Troy Fitzgerald, Director of Ironman Augusta. “And a lot of them are first-timers.”

Fitzgerald tells us the race is great for first-timers because of its quick, down-river swim.

He tells us, one year, there was a chip bag that found itself in the waters during competition. 

“A volunteer was going to pick it up and it floated down along the path and it helped guide it,” said Fitzgerald. “And even the chip bag made the cut off…”

Local business owners tell us that Arts in the Heart brought them a lot of new customers. 

They are hoping for more this weekend.

“Ironman, Arts in the Heart, the IT conference that they’ve been having every year,” said Sonnie Sanders, manager of Downtown Smoke Shop. “It’s great for us.” 

Sanders tells us that, for big events like this, preparation is key as a business owner.

“We try to stay staffed, stay stocked,” said Sanders. “And, hopefully, the best happens.”

Fitzgerald tells us that they are expecting around 2200 race participants so far.

“I enjoy the community aspect of it,” said Fitzgerald. “I like being a part of doing something to help anybody achieve their goal- at the end, to see them at the finish line.”

If you drive downtown, this will affect you. Ironman is accepting walk-up competitors. They are also still looking for volunteers. For more information, visit Augusta Sports Council or Ironman 70.3 Augusta.