Published on Tue, Aug 18, 2009
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Athletes from all over the world gathered in Lake Stevens last Sunday, to swim, ride and run over 70 miles through the scenic byways in and around our picturesque town.
With over 1,300 athletes and 4,500 spectators, the Ironman 70.3 Triathlon continues to bring revenue to local businesses and a hustle and bustle rarely felt in Lake Stevens.
“We anticipate that the event brought in over $1.5 million to our local area over the three day period, which included Friday, Saturday and Sunday,” Lake Stevens Police Chief and Lake Stevens Chamber of Commerce President Randy Celori said. “I think this event has significant impact on some of our smaller businesses”. Celori has put in countless hours promoting the Ironman event and was a key figure in keeping it in Lake Stevens. The Lake Stevens Chamber of Commerce is not only a sponsor but also coordinated with other organizations including Costco Wholesale, Fred Meyer, Safeway and Brien Ford.
The Ironman 70.3 Triathlon was brought to Lake Stevens in 2007 when Barclays North sponsored the event. Now, three years later, other companies have come forward in order to keep the event here.
“Lake Stevens is a sweet, small town and it’s nice that there is so much support for the athletes,” Ironman spectator Jolene Samples said. Samples and her husband Russ came from Vancouver, Wash, for the race. Athletes and their families look forward to coming to Lake Stevens for the annual Ironman event. The small town feel and the support of the athletes is evident.
“It is important for the runners to feel like they are doing a good job and the community is making them feel very welcome,” Russ Samples said.
The Ironman in Lake Stevens is a qualifying race for the Foster Grant Triathlon held each year in Florida and is the only Ironman 70.3 qualifier in a three state region of the Pacific Northwest. “A total of 50 qualifying slots to the Foster Grant Ironman World Championship 70.3 in Clearwater, Fla. will be up for grabs at this event,” Tammy Dunn, Sports Marketing Manager for the Snohomish County Tourism Bureau said.
The Ironman Triathlon consists of a 1.2 mile swim, a 56 mile bike ride and a 13.1 mile run. “The event includes a total of 70.3 miles of professional and age group athlete competition,” Dunn said. Triathlons have become immensely popular as of late and the Lake Stevens race includes entrants from over 45 states and seven countries. Over 20 triathlon groups registered with USA Trialthon, or USAT, in Washington alone.
“Today, health and fitness is important to everybody and we have a perfect venue to allow people to take advantage of that and to inspire others,” Celori said. Unfortunately, one of the female triathletes was injured while on the 56-mile bike ride. A car struck her, knocking her to the ground and sending her to the hospital. The driver drove away and she was unable to finish this year’s event.