Ironman 70.3 St. George attracts unprecedented pro field, generates largest economic impact to date

Florian Angert races in the Ironman 70.3 St. George triathlon race, St. George, Utah, May 1, 2021 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — The recent Intermountain Healthcare Ironman 70.3 North American Championship held May 1 was one for the record books as professional and age group athletes tested their mettle across the landscape that will soon be known as the Ironman 70.3 World Championship course in September.

L-R: In this file photo, Sam Long, Lionel Sanders and Magnus Ditlev pose after finishing on the podium of the Ironman 70.3 St. George triathlon race, St. George, Utah, May 1, 2021 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

According to a press release issued Thursday, this year’s race attracted more than 9,000 athletes and visitors to Southern Utah and directly infused an estimated $8.9 million into the local economy. A survey conducted at Ironman Village also revealed that 97.5 percent of athletes would recommend this race to a friend or family member.

“Over the years, we have built a community that people are literally racing to get to,” Kevin Lewis, director for the Greater Zion Convention and Tourism Office, said in the release.

“It was thrilling to see the range of emotions – there was so much pure joy exhibited as athletes from around the globe once again embraced the sport they love,” Lewis said. “This is the land of endurance. Our unique landscape, our optimistic community, and our challenging course create a perfect environment for an extreme event like this.”

The event is expected to generate more than just a one-time economic boost for the area. According to the survey, an overwhelming 80.1% of visitors reported that they plan to return and vacation in Greater Zion.

Ironman 70.3 St. George triathlon race, Sand Hollow Reservoir, Hurricane, Utah, May 1, 2021 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

In addition, the Ironman 70.3 World Championship held in September is expected to attract visitors from 110 countries, 21,000 athletes and visitors and infuse $25 million into the local economy. This will bring the total economic impact of Ironman close to $34 million in 2021, the release states.

This year’s sold-out race, as previously reported on by St. George News, included 3,500 registered athletes and 108 registered professional athletes that held a combined 10 Ironman World Championship titles and over 100 Ironman 70.3 championships.

“We have never seen such a stacked pro field in all 11 years of racing,” Lewis said, adding that it was the largest pro field to ever participate in an Ironman event and represented “one of the most talented and impressive pro fields” in Ironman history.

Now the eyes of the Ironman community turn toward the 70.3 series’ largest and most prestigious race: the Ironman 70.3 World Championship to be held in St. George on September 17-18.

Noteworthy Ironman participation numbers:

  • Total Visitors: 9,104
  • Total Athletes Started: 2,802
  • Total Athletes Finished: 2,636
  • Total Room Nights: 8,511
  • Registered Utah Athletes: 644
  • Registered Athletes from Washington County: 108
  • Direct Economic Impact: $8.9 million

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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