Inaugural Ironman Augusta was world's largest

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Organizers of Augusta's inaugural Ironman competition declared the event the world's largest of its kind after tabulating final participation numbers Monday, and they said it had an economic impact more than twice what was originally projected.

About 3,000 athletes from a registered pool of more than 3,400 competed Sunday in the ESi Ironman 70.3 Augusta, said Tammy Stout, the executive director of the Augusta Sports Council.

"Our no-show ratio ran a little below the norm for Ironman events," Ms. Stout said. "We hosted this year the largest one in the world."

She said officials revised estimates of economic impact from more than $2 million to $4.7 million.

Maj. Richard Weaver of the Richmond County Sheriff's Office estimated that the crowd reached between 5,000 and 6,000 people at its peak.

After factoring in the 3,000 athletes, Ms. Stout said she thought the number was closer to 10,000 people, based on registration surveys completed Friday and Saturday. About 650 people served as volunteers.

The survey revealed athletes stayed in town an average of 2.5 nights and brought three people.

"I think the event met our expectations in every way," Ms. Stout said. "The competitors loved the course. They were impressed by the community support."

City Administrator Fred Russell said he thought the competition drew a good crowd.

"My informal survey of talking to the people who were downtown and looking in restaurants is that they were full and everyone was having a good time," he said.

Organizers were taking notes about how they can improve next year's Ironman, for which Ms. Stout said 50 people already have registered.

"We absolutely anticipate being a sellout event by the first of the year," she said.

Reach Erin Zureick at (706) 823-3215 or erin.zureick@augustachronicle.com.

Comments (19) Add comment
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lsnorth
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lsnorth 09/29/09 - 06:16 am
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This is really good. Augusta

This is really good. Augusta should of had the trash on Calhoun Expressway cleaned up. It looked dirty going in todowntown.

D-man
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D-man 09/29/09 - 06:20 am
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The Ironman event was

The Ironman event was awesome. I volunteered at one of the bike aid stations and had a great time.

Looking forward to the IMBA World Mountain Bike Summit in May!

ColCo
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ColCo 09/29/09 - 06:22 am
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Augusta may have found a

Augusta may have found a niche, now what's next? The only complaint I heard from participants was the lack of quality hotel rooms downtown.

Boston93
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Boston93 09/29/09 - 08:24 am
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Great job Augusta. Super

Great job Augusta. Super event even though I missed some of it due to Church, but well worth the time I spent there. Great crowds from Beech Island to downtown. Did not make it to Jackson and New Ellenton, but hope they had a good turnout also. Just the thrill of 3300+ participants and all the spectators was worth the time. Lets hope this will continue here in the future and help out the economy in the CSRA. Thanks participants and your hard work, training, traveling from 15 countries and appears most of the states, you were appreciated. Being a runner of the past years, I know the feeling you experience and the memories that last forever.

WideOpenSpaces
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WideOpenSpaces 09/29/09 - 08:33 am
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What a great event! To see

What a great event! To see all the crowds of Augustans cheering on the athletes downtown warmed my heart too. I hear the New Moon Cafe and Blue Sky Kitchen had record-setting sales too. And the Fresh Market was crowded when I tried to get some snacks there. It was awesome to see so many people from out of town here. And it's great for the local businesses. We ought to figure out some ways to bring in more events this size throughout the year!

fish2
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fish2 09/29/09 - 08:40 am
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Funny--did not see justice4

Funny--did not see justice4 there.

DEVGRU
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DEVGRU 09/29/09 - 09:12 am
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fish2 - Justus4 probably

fish2 - Justus4 probably can't' swim.

Painter
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Painter 09/29/09 - 11:26 am
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A great event but should not

A great event but should not be held on Sunday! I am sure as many would have come to a Saturday event. Is this an indication of the way our world has declined? Lamentations 4:12. Church wake up!

storiesihaveread
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storiesihaveread 09/29/09 - 11:50 am
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Good lord painter give me a

Good lord painter give me a break. Who says you have to be with god only on Sunday. It is everyday you should be with him. Painter find something else to whine about. You freakin idiot...

pduckett
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pduckett 09/29/09 - 12:09 pm
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As a competitor at the race,

As a competitor at the race, let me applaud the city of Augusta and it's residents for putting on one of the best races I have ever attended. Aside from the race itself, I was amazed at how friendly and interested the residents and businesses were. Quite often races like this "upset" the locals as it interrupts their normal routines. I never sensed that the entire weekend.

Also, a quick shoutout to Boll Weevil restuarant. Desserts to DIE for!!!

Great job Augusta, I look forward to doing this race next year!

tshoffstall
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tshoffstall 09/29/09 - 12:31 pm
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Painter... The Sabbath is not

Painter... The Sabbath is not Sunday...according to the bible, The Sabbath is Friday sundown thru Sat Sundown. Read the 4th commandment...

JackBootedThug
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JackBootedThug 09/29/09 - 01:07 pm
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As a christian, I understand

As a christian, I understand that this race starts during normal church hours, but they have to hold the race at a time with the least impact on traffic, since all but the swimming is on public streets. I believe Sunday mornings are the right choice for that reason. I'll choose church over the race, but being practical is smart!

tshoffstall
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tshoffstall 09/29/09 - 02:57 pm
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The sabbath is NOT Sunday...

The sabbath is NOT Sunday... As a Christian, I follow the Bible, so let the games be on Sunday.. not the Sabbath,.

8Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
11For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

steelermoose1
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steelermoose1 09/29/09 - 05:05 pm
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hMMM....maybe the TEE center

hMMM....maybe the TEE center would bring in a new 400 room hotel on the river for the athletes and families to stay. Then we could have this event every year

abeecee2
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abeecee2 09/29/09 - 07:57 pm
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Great work, Augusta Sports

Great work, Augusta Sports Council.

DEVGRU
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DEVGRU 09/29/09 - 09:00 pm
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Painter, get a life.

Painter, get a life. Apparently your are what I call an "extreme" christian. Being religious is great, I am too, but when you become a fanatic it's time for some psychiatric treatment. If you are interested, let me know. I have friends in the business. They won't make you come in on Sunday.

humbleopinion
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humbleopinion 09/29/09 - 10:11 pm
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I thought about running a

I thought about running a marathon once. And then I realized that I DON'T HAVE TO RUN 26 MILES. I have a motorcycle. I get there much quicker and I'm not all sweaty.

Run-witha-Smile
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Run-witha-Smile 09/29/09 - 10:46 pm
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I was one of the athletes

I was one of the athletes that participated in the Ironman on SUNDAY! I can tell you that even though I wasn't inside a church, I was very much "with God" on my journey! I could feel His grace as I swam in the Savannah river, which was full of the rain that he sent down to cool off Augusta the night before the event. I could feel His strength on the bike ride as I pushed my muscles beyond what I thought they could handle, while getting to see some of the most beautiful views in the CSRA. I smiled at His mercy when He sent wind that cooled me off during the run. I could feel His love through the kindness of the volunteers who spent hours in the hot sun to help us get the water and Gaterade we needed. I could hear his voice through the spectators whose cheers and smiles kept us going. Yes, I may have been in purple spandex this Sunday (instead of my Sunday best), but I don't think God minded at all. And, I was sure to thank Him with a prayer each time I passed one of the ten or more churches along the 70.3 route! Sunday's event couldn't have been any better! God Bless everyone who had a part in making it such a success!!

Junket831
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Junket831 09/29/09 - 11:40 pm
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Congratulations to the

Congratulations to the Augusta Sports Council on their success! Maybe the Tee Center idea should be morphed into some type of sports and meeting complex that would encourage various types of sporting events in addition to meetings. Perhaps Deke's proposal for a downtown ball field could be adapted to a sports center that would sponsor various tournaments, events and games. Similar to the way the Georgia games were done a few years back. We could have the Georgia/Carolina games.

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