More than 6,000 athletes are expected to take part today through Sunday in competitions that include golf, tennis, soccer, beach volleyball, running, biking and swimming.
All of them will be women.
The mammoth undertaking in Newport Beach and Irvine is called the Celebration of Women in Sports, and organizers say they are aiming to “salute and acknowledge the athletic accomplishments of female athletes, past and present.” In addition to athletic contests, the four-day event will include a daily health and fitness expo at the Hyatt Regency Irvine, plus clinics, dances, seminars and parties.
Getting more recognition for female athletes includes more sponsorships and higher prize purses. “It’s time that women athletes are role models,” said spokeswoman Charlene Zagorski. Athletic events will accommodate all skill levels. “We’re having everything from the novice to the professional athlete there,” Zagorski said. The event will benefit Women of Iron, a resource organization for female multisport athletes, in addition to other groups.
Team competitions are already full, but athletes can still take part in several individual events on Saturday and Sunday. These include:
* A 10K in-line skating contest Saturday at 7:30 a.m., starting at the Hyatt Regency Irvine. Entry fee is $15.
* A 5K/10K run and stroll, 8:30 a.m. Saturday at the Hyatt Regency Irvine. Entry fee is $15.
* A 15- and 20-mile bike ride, starting noon Saturday at the Hyatt Regency Irvine. Entry fee is $25.
* A triathlon, beginning at 7 a.m. Sunday at Newport Dunes Resort, 1131 Back Bay Drive, Newport Beach. The event includes a half-mile swim in Newport Bay, a 12-mile bike ride and a 3.1-mile run. Entry fee is $45.
Registration for each event will be held before its start time; participants can also register Thursday and Friday at the Hyatt Regency Irvine.
The health and fitness expo will be held Thursday to Saturday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free. Athletic events are free to spectators.