Ironman puts Capes on map
More than 7500 visitors are expected to descend on the Capes this weekend for one of the region’s most lucrative sporting events, the Busselton Ironman.
Five thousand of those will be supporters, while 2500 competitors from Australia, Japan, Singapore, China, New Zealand and the UK will vie for a chance to qualify for the Ironman World Championships.
The event generates millions of dollars for the local economy and this year is in the spotlight even more due to the participation of European Ironman champion and Olympic triathlon gold medallist Alistair Brownlee.
Brownlee, from the UK, will compete in the race, with fans around the world watching his progress.
WA race director Martin Mashford said Ironman events were growing in popularity across Australia, with competitors of all ages keen to challenge themselves.
“We have been growing the sport with the women’s tri program and trying to build female participation, which has grown every year,” he said.
“A new initiative is the Ironkids event on Saturday morning and we’re expecting about 350 kids competing in the shorter triathlon.
“We work closely with the City of Busselton and Tourism WA to ensure we drive tourism over this week and next. A lot of people are getting behind the event in Busselton, which is great to see.”
City of Busselton Mayor Grant Henley said the event would generate priceless regional marketing for the South West through quality footage promoted to both national and international markets.
“The economic return to the region is in the vicinity of $11 million,” he said.
“Additionally, tens of thousands of dollars are fed back into the local community and sporting groups as a result of their support on the day.
“In fact, the event wouldn’t be possible without the help of volunteers. Hosting Ironman is a real community effort.”
Busselton Tri Club coach Mick Bray said he had met several Ironman competitors internationally who said they would return to Busselton because of their experiences during the event.
“I have done 26 Ironman events and 14 in Busselton and I believe that this is the best event because of the volunteers,” he said.
“There are some tough areas of the event but the run is supported well and it helps spur on the athletes.”
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