Ironman triathlon brings economic boost to PCB

Updated: May. 14, 2021 at 10:22 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - As triathletes run for the finish line Saturday, local businesses are also getting a run for their money this weekend. Visit Panama City Beach’s Lacee Rudd said the Ironman race is an event they’re always excited to host.

“They’re bringing in their families. They’re booking up room nights in our destinations and experiencing all of our great restaurants and attractions,” said Rudd.

This 70.3 mile race takes athletes running, swimming, and biking all over Panama City Beach. But, it’s not just an eventful weekend for almost 2,000 athletes.

“We’re expecting about a $4 million boost from this event this year,” said Rudd.

A boost Rudd said is right on track with what this event typically brings into the local economy, despite COVID. Race Director Ben Rausa said athletes and visitors are usually in town for three or four days.

“We know we put heads in beds and we know we help the economy,” said Rausa.

Even though the race starts on Saturday, some would say the athletes are already “carbing up” for the weekend. For businesses like Firefly, partner Lance Von Gerichten said they’ve already seen a heavier flow of people this week.

“We’re excited to have them in town, we’re ready for them. We’re ready for them to carb up for their race,” said Von Gerichten

Ready to watch these athletes cross the finish line, propelling local businesses to race to the bank.

“The community means everything to us. We are a part of the community,” said Rausa.

The Ironman triathlon is a 1.2 swim, a 56-mile bike ride, and a 13.1 run. The race starts and finishes for athletes at Edgewater Resort, starting Saturday at 6:50 a.m.

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