I decided to participate this year in Augusta’s ESi Ironman 70.3 triathlon, so I was interested in the results and how I did compared to the field. The Augusta Chronicle has a great site that shows where all the participants come from. I took the time to count how many were from the CSRA and how many were from out-of-town. The results really surprised me!
There were 2,673 competitors who participated in the full event. Only 109 were from Augusta or the surrounding area. All others drove in to take part, and they were from all over the map. I even met a couple from England. Many of the participants practiced on that Friday and Saturday, and most had full families and crews with them. Some said they were here for five days! All we spoke with were from out of state.
Of course, there is a considerable economic impact to all these activities, and it is not immediately obvious. I had a massage in North Augusta, and the therapist told me she had just finished a massage with a Florida couple who became engaged to be married during the event. There was additional business to restaurants, hotels, sports stores, gas stations, the airport – you name it.
Most of all, to me it showed that the event is slowly putting Augusta on another map besides our great golf tournament. It is creating considerable standing among the ironman community as a fast and well-run event. And I’m so glad they come.
A special thanks to the city, Commissioner Matt Aitken, the Army volunteers, the city inmates, Tonya Bonitatibus with Savannah Riverkeeper and the Downtown Augusta Alliance for the extra push to have our river and Riverwalk neat and tidy for the event. Also, thanks to the landscapers who are keeping our Riverwalk and downtown parks in great shape.
Finally, thank you ESi! You are so good to Augusta!
I hope the CSRA community continues to show its great support. Remember, when you see a bicyclist or runner on the road, please be tolerant – it benefits the whole community.
Kim O. Sidey