There will be some disruption and delays as East Cork hosts Ireland’s first full-distance Ironman this weekend but the regional benefits will be immense in the long-run.
That was the message from the chief executive of Cork County Council, Tim Lucey, as gardaí released details of a major traffic management plan ahead of Sunday’s gruelling Ironman in and around Youghal.
Tim Lucey urged people to embrace the global sporting event which has attracted almost 2,500 athletes and which is expected to attract up to 10,000 spectators: “We estimate this year’s event will be worth an immediate €8m to the local economy but that it will generate many multiples of that for the region in the long-run. And considering the fact that the event will be in Youghal for the next two years, it will have a significant spin-off for the entire region."
“We have front-loaded significant works to ensure that everything was right for the first year of the Ironman in Youghal, and to help sustain the event going forward. The message is 'Youghal is open for business right across the weekend', and we would encourage people to plan their visit and to enjoy the event.”
Some 2,500 athletes, almost half from overseas, will begin arriving in Youghal from tomorrow ahead of Sunday’s event - a 3.8-km sea swim, a 180-km cycle and a 42.2-km run.
Competitors will set off at around 6.30am on the swim, completing two-laps of a course just off Claycastle beach. It will feature an Australian exit which means competitors will face a very short beach run between exiting lap-one and re-entering the water for the second lap.
They will then set off on the first of two laps of a vast 90km circuit south from Youghal along undulating coastal roads, passing through Garryvoe, Shanagarry and Cloyne, before swinging north towards Midleton and into a long climb to Dungourney.
They will then take a hairpin turn south-east for a long-technical drop through Mount Uniake into Youghal and its town centre, with a lung-busting climb on the town’s infamous Windmill Hill before the second lap. They then face four laps of the run course through Youghal town centre, running under the Clock Gate Tower arch before crossing the finish line at Green Park.
Gardaí have urged people to consult the race route and traffic diversion maps, to plan their journey routes and allow extra time for their travel. They have also advised residents that while there are some crossing points along the route, some residents may not be able to drive to and from their homes.
“We would recommend that you check if your home is on the race route and if so, park your car somewhere that it can be accessed. If you are unsure if your home is on the route, please contact the event organisers on 085-1112031 or Midleton Garda Station on 021-462 1550,” Superintendent Adrian Gamble said.
“This is the first ever official Ironman to take place in Ireland and we are delighted to have the event in Cork. We are appealing to people to support the event and the emergency services and to cooperate with gardaí and stewards to ensure the safety of all."
The main N25 Cork to Waterford road will remain open at all times across the weekend but several road closures will be in effect on Sunday along the bike and run routes.
While roads will reopen as the bike race progresses, general road closures will be in place from 5.30am until midnight. Further localised road closures will be in place in Youghal with a stop-go system in operation on Saturday and again on Monday.
Parking will be available at Youghal Rugby Club for €5 with a shuttle bus into the town. Spectators should use public car parks in Midleton and walk to the route. Any vehicle parked on the race routes will be towed.
Olympic double gold medalist, Alistair Brownlee, is among several elite triathletes taking part in the event which offers 40 qualifying slots to the 2019 Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawai’i.