Galway gears up for lucrative first Ironman event in Ireland

THE first Ironman event to be held in Ireland is expected to be worth €25m to Galway’s economy over five years, organisers claimed yesterday.

The city becomes the focal point for the shorter “70.3” version of the famed endurance test next September, and will host the annual event until 2015.

Ironman 70.3 is a triathlon containing a 1.9km swim, a 90km bike ride and a 21.1km run, and the route for the event was revealed yesterday.

The race begins with a swim between Salthill and the ancient Claddagh fishing village, before the bike course takes athletes into Connemara and the Burren. The final leg takes place through the streets of Galway city, finishing in Eyre Square.

Eoin McCormack of E&R Events, the company which secured the rights to host the competition in the west, said: “I believe that the Ironman 70.3 in Galway on the West coast of Ireland offers athletes a truly unique challenge in a location that is unrivalled anywhere in the world.

“Galway is famous for its friendly atmosphere and stunningly beautiful landscape, all of which should add up to a thoroughly wonderful experience for competitors from all around the world.”

Kai Walter, managing director of Ironman European Headquarters added: “Galway offers ideal conditions for an Ironman 70.3 event. The race course is beautiful and has all qualifications of establishing itself as a highlight in the race calendar for triathletes worldwide.”

Registration opens on October 11, 2010 for the race, which offers 35 qualifying slots for the Foster Grant Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Florida.

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