ROANOKE, Va. – Thousands of athletes and tourists may be leaving Monday after taking on the Ironman Triathlon, but the economic gain still lingers.
Though the high energy from this weekend is now gone, the impact from the Ironman Triathlon is here to stay.
Catherine Fox with Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge said with most hotels booked up over the weekend, Roanoke is making an economic comeback.
“It’s all about the hotels,” she said. “And the hotels really starting to feel the fact that they can start to get back to some normalcy.”
Fox said both restaurants and hotels created a lasting impression on tourists by offering discounts and extra amenities for athletes.
Something that’s essential since the intense race is expected to return to Roanoke for the next two to three years.
“You want to talk about a city rallying around an event,” Carillion Clinic Chief Medical Officer Patrice Weiss said. “This is it, man.”
Weiss said it’s going to take the whole community to host another large-scale event.
More than 1,500 volunteers helped the athletes every step of the way.
Fox said it’s now time to reflect on lessons learned.
Though there were not many reported criticisms, Fox said they made notes about road closure complaints.
“We heard from maybe a handful of folks who were not aware initially earlier in the week,” she said. “They got a personal phone call and were offered an opportunity to know how this would impact them.”
While the traffic changes inconvenienced residents for a day, athletes say it made them feel safer.
“It was so smooth and safe and it was just so stunning to ride on the parkway for 25 miles without cars out,” Marni Sumbal, the second female finisher of the race, said. It was fantastic out. Definitely will be back again.”