Cafes, bars and restaurants in Stafford spoke about a great weekend for business with the return of the Ironman to the county town.
Hospitality outlets were having a bumper trade with one declaring Ironman as one of their busiest days of the year.
A number of outlets - such as Coffee #1, Verso Lounge and The Swan Hotel - said their income increased as thousands of people swarmed into town to cheer the competitors to the finish line - following a 1.2 mile swim at Chasewater, a 56-mile bike ride through the Staffordshire countryside and a half marathon.
And the boost in trade was not confined to hospitality premises in town - with the Bod café bar a couple of miles away in the Baswich area reporting seeing an increase, every year the Ironman comes to the county, from people not wanting to go into town.
The event is a collaboration between Ironman 70.3 Staffordshire, Stafford Borough Council and Staffordshire County Council.
Emma Follows, Manager of Coffee #1 in Greengate Street, said: “It’s extremely busy - one of the busiest of the year - and we always prepare well for it. There is just no comparison to a normal Sunday. We opened our doors and within only 15 minutes we had taken the same amount as what we would normally expect to in an hour!”
Rooms at The Swan Hotel in the centre of town are fully booked for the Ironman weekend and Duty Manager, Catherine Mullan, said many of their residents were taking part in the event.
“We are always full for Ironman and make sure we promote the event. This year all rooms have been booked from Friday to Sunday. It is great to see the atmosphere in town and it brings with it an increase in trade. You get to know about the event in advance so can plan for it.”
Superdrug, the Posthouse, and Greggs also said they were “definitely busier” than a normal Sunday because of Ironman.
And Kelly Quigley, General Manager at Verso Lounge Café Bar, said their venue was extremely popular with competitors because of the range of dishes they have on the menu.
She continued: “We get so many regular Ironman customers back year after year. We have built up good relationships with competitors and the organisers. On the Saturday we were selling more coffees and drinks to takeaway.
“And I would say our trade increases by 50% on the day of the event compared to a normal Sunday.”
Athletes from many countries take part in the event including France, USA, Poland, and Australia.
Councillor Gillian Pardesi, Cabinet Member for Leisure said: “Congratulations to all those who completed this gruelling event especially in the very warm conditions we had at the weekend.
“It was lovely to see so many people in town for the Ironman 70.3 and to hear from some of our local outlets who have taken advantage of that increased footfall and celebrated a bumper weekend of trading.
“It was also a wonderful opportunity to promote the borough, and wider county, to the global audience that the Ironman brand brings.”
The final leg of the triathlon sees participants run a half marathon past the iconic Stafford Castle before crossing the line under the Ironman 70.3 finish gantry which was in South Walls this year due to the refurbishment work going on in the town’s Market Square.
Press Release No 6039