On July 22, 2012, more than 1500 athletes from 34 countries converged in Bolton for the 4th annual Ironman UK, adding an estimated £2,693,343 to Bolton’s economy - a five per cent increase on 2011.
With many athletes having spent years preparing and training for this ultimate test of endurance, comprising a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and 26.2 run, they understandably want to ensure their experience is a special one to remember.
In response to a survey from 220 competitors, Ironman UK has confirmed that each competitor brought with them on average 2.2 spectators and stays 2.7 days, spending an estimated total of £2,693,343, an increase of £120,880 on 2011.
Prior to race week, athletes visited the area for training or to look at the course for orientation. This provides a year round boost to the economy. Outside race week athletes spent an estimated £272,819, compared with £242,076 in 2011.
During the race week athletes themselves spent an estimated £1,402,335 on food and accommodation, up from £903,451 in 2011.
Each athlete brought an average of 2.2 spectators for the duration of their stay and between them, staying an average of 2.7 days. They spent £1,018,189 on food and accommodation combined (athletes were asked specifically how much their spectators spent on accommodation).
In addition to the main Ironman UK event, there was a considerable boost to activity in the town centre of Bolton as a result of the sell out Ironkids event that saw 1,000 kids aged three to 15 compete.
An estimated 4,000 additional people attended and spectated the event on Saturday morning providing a considerable boost to economic spend in the centre during the morning. Furthermore, at least £100,000 was spent on local suppliers and labour as part of the event.
Ironman UK provided a significant media platform for Bolton, gaining national print and broadcast coverage as well as being heavily featured in a new European TV Series. This was shown on Channel 4 and Sky Sports 2 and expanded the reach of exposure for Bolton across Europe.
Leader of Bolton Council, Councillor Cliff Morris, said: “Despite the economic conditions, it’s fantastic news that there was an increase in spend compared to 2011. This just shows how important events like Ironman are for our local economy, and particularly for our town centre.
"We had thousands of people coming to the borough and the town centre over the race weekend providing a welcome boost for local businesses. The coverage the race gets internationally also cements our reputation as a destination for hosting large sporting events.”
Kevin Stewart, Managing Director of Ironman UK and Ireland added: “Ironman UK has a growing reputation of one of the great races on the European Ironman Tour. This would never have been possible without the welcome and dedicated support from Bolton Council in staging such a unique event.
"This year’s race has sold out in a record 9 weeks, which clearly demonstrates how much our athletes enjoy racing in and around the town of Bolton, further helped by the amazing atmosphere and support from the local crowds.”
With entry into the 2013 Ironman UK in Bolton on Sunday 4 August having sold out in a record time, this world class event which has become a firm fixture in the annual sporting calendar, promises to further boost Bolton’s economy.
For further information please visit www.ironmanuk.com.
Entry for Ironkids Bolton on Saturday, August 3, 2013 is now open please visit www.ironkids.co.uk.