Staffordshire tourism officials have declared IRONMAN 70.3 a success after thousands turned-out around the county to watch the event.
More than 2,500 competitors from around the globe took park in the triathlon which consisted of a 1.2 mile swim at Chasewater, a 56-mile bike route through Lichfield, Burton-upon-Trent and Cannock Chase and 13.1 mile run at the historic Shugborough county estate.
Hotels, B&Bs, restaurants and cafés all saw a surge in demand as people flocked to Staffordshire for the event – which was the fastest selling in IRONMAN history.
It is the first of two high profile races to be held in Staffordshire this month with the UK Corporate Games set to light-up the north of the county from June 25.
Councillor Mark Winnington, deputy chairman of Enjoy Staffordshire and cabinet member for economy, environment and transport at Staffordshire County Council, said: “It was a wonderful opportunity for the people of Staffordshire to have such a prestigious race on their doorstep and we are thrilled with the turn out.
“It further boosts Staffordshire’s growing reputation for tourism and it is exciting to think IRONMAN 70.3 will return for two successive years.
“The event has been a great success for the county and speaking to business owners in the tourism trade they are preparing for even bigger numbers to attend next year.”
Chris Lewis, managing partner of The Lewis Partnership which runs The Swan Hotel in Stafford and The Moat House in Acton Trussell, spoke of IRONMAN’s positive impact on the county.
He said: “IRONMAN coming to Stafford has greatly increased the profile of Staffordshire as not only a destination for tourists but opened the eyes of the sporting world to what Staffordshire has by way of recreational sports.
“We have seen an increase in accommodation sales for the weekend and it is hoped that the visitors to the area for the competition will see how versatile Staffordshire is and return on many occasions in the future and not only for the annual competition.”