Ironman 70.3 World Championship to bring in around 16,000 people

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) – At the Ironman Village Thursday afternoon athletes could be seen checking in for the Ironman 70.3 World Championship and checking out vendors in the tents lined up near the Tennessee River.

“It’s been awesome.  I mean we’ve been expecting humidity and heat and it’s actually cooler here than it is back home,” Jennifer Datwyler said.

It’s anticipated that around 16,000 people will be in town for the weekend event, including 3,400 athletes representing 90 countries.

Athletes like Sheila Leard and Jennifer Datwyler who are friends flew eight hours from northern California to compete in the championship.

“People of Chattanooga have been so friendly and embracing the athletes.  Sometimes we impact your roads and make the town kind of shut down.  So, it’s been nice to feel welcomed by Chattanooga.  I love that part.  It makes us want to come back and do the other race,” Leard said.

The Ironman could have a huge impact on the city.

President and CEO of Chattanooga Area Visitors and Convention Bureau Bob Doak said the two-day triathlon is expected to have a 22 million dollar direct impact.

“When you think about all of these other world cities that have or will host the Ironman 70.3, we are doing something right.  We do know what we’re doing as a community and we will continue to see brand awareness go up and interest in Chattanooga in booking additional events,” Doak said.

Rock Creek is just one of many businesses close to the Ironman Village.

Employees said because of the event, the retail shop is seeing an increase of shoppers coming into the store.

“I think it’s neat especially being from the Chattanooga area to see how we are gaining global recognition as being this place that has a lot to offer you know scenery and a lot of different sports.  I think it’s, it’s pretty cool that we have all these resources right at our fingertips,” Rock Creek Marketing Director Josh Legg said.

Ironman 70.3 World Championship races start Saturday.

Categories: Chattanooga, Local News

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