For the first time since 2013, a triathlon will include downtown Los Angeles as part of its course.
Sunday's Herbalife 24 Triathlon will begin in Venice Beach and finish at LA Live near the Staples Center. The course is a similar version to the one used for the L.A. Triathlon, but the last one was contested in 2013.
The Olympic distance triathlon begins with a 1,500-meter swim in the Pacific Ocean, a 40-kilometer (25-mile) bike ride into Los Angeles and a 10K run (6.2 miles) in downtown.
"We wanted this race to really celebrate the city," race director Brennan Lindner said. "It is an urban triathlon and there are going to be high-rise buildings and probably going to be graffiti, but we all love this city and that's really showcased those areas. I think across the board there has sort of been the rise of the different races experiences that happen in city areas because we all don't live in a rural or tropical area."
The course though will not be the one that will be used for the 2028 Olympics. Organizers have already determined that Long Beach will host the triathlon during the games.
Lindner said the course for Sunday's race does offer a few challenges, starting with the swim, where the temperature in the Pacific Ocean could be in the low 50s. The bike course is fast because there aren't a lot of hills, but the run does have a couple climbs to test competitors toward the end.
"If I am out on a tropical island, I know I don't have a thousand cars coming less than right on every corner here," said Dirk Aschmoneit, who won the 1991 Ironman New Zealand Triathlon. "I know it is a close course, but I think you still have to be always a little bit aware of views of your surroundings. I think there's a certain sense of heightened awareness to get through the race and then also probably the spectators which aren't always in rural areas."
The field includes Ironman world record holder Heather Jackson and Drew Hunthausen, a blind and partially deaf triathlete. Aschmoneit will be Hunthausen's guide throughout the race.
Aschmoneit said the challenge for him is different compared to competing on his own.
"It's not about myself at this point it's about being a guide for him and making sure that he gets safe through the race," he said. "It was very eye opening to me very a very humbling experience so far."