In excess of 6,000 people are expected to line the streets of Athlone for the triAthlone this July, it was announced this week.
The figure came to light as registration for the 2009 triAthlone opened, with a record 400 participants signing up in the opening four days.
“We expect to see well over 6,000 people on the streets of Athlone on July 18 this year. Last year we had approximately 6,000 people on the day in Athlone and this is sure to grow... the event has been worth millions to the local economy including hotels, B&Bs, pubs, clubs and to general shops,” said Liam Heavin, chairman of Waterways Ireland triAthlone.
“In 2010 Athlone is set to be taken over by Irish and international visitors as we are hosting the European Championships. The businesses and people of Athlone have a great opportunity now to showcase the town to encourage those visitors to return again and again. It is important that we harness the value of the triathlon so we can see the benefits for year and years to come.”
The Waterways Ireland triAthlone, Ireland’s largest triathlon, takes place on Saturday, July 18 2009 in Athlone.
Momentum and interest have grown for Ireland’s fastest growing sporting event since the organisers secured the bid to host the European championships in Athlone in 2010. What started off as a race with 550 people in 2006 grew to 1,800 in 2008, and organisers hope to break the 2,000-strong participant barrier this year.
Speaking about the phenomenal interest in the race, race director Hugh McAtamney said; ‘’Waterways Ireland triAthlone has been successful beyond what we could ever hope for. We have people coming from all over the world to participate in this sporting event in Athlone. We do expect to break the 2,000 participant mark this year which will see thousands of visitors descend on Athlone for a weekend in July.”
Director of marketing & communications with Waterways Ireland, Martin Dennany, added that the triAthlone event has a huge economic impact on Athlone and the whole Lakelands Region.
“As title sponsor, Waterways Ireland is delighted to showcase the Shannon Navigation and its assets to the committed and enthusiastic participants, their supporters, and people who come to view this spectacle and spend time in Ireland’s beautiful lakelands and inland waterways.”