DES MOINES, IA – This weekend’s Hy-Vee Triathlon is expected to contribute roughly $4.5 million to the economy in the greater Des Moines area, according to figures released by Hy-Vee and the Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Darin Hirl, director of the Hy-Vee Triathlon, said more than 3,000 professional and amateur triathletes will compete in Sunday’s races, which will start at Gray’s Lake and finish at the Iowa State Capitol. Roughly 80 percent of participants come from outside the metro area, and athletes bring an average of two to three people with them to watch them compete.
“Athletes have to be here on Saturday to pick up their race packets, attend mandatory briefings and check in their bikes, which means most participants will spend at least one night in Des Moines,” Hirl said. “When you total the amount they’re spending on hotels and meals, as well as the amount we’re spending as a company to put on the race, you’re looking at a sizable investment in the local economy.”
Hirl noted that the economic impact figure for the 2012 Hy-Vee Triathlon is considerably higher than the $3 million estimate for 2011.
“We’ve more than tripled the number of athletes competing in the 5150 U.S. Championship divisions this year, and participation in the open Hy-Vee Triathlon has increased as well,” Hirl said. “We have more athletes coming from throughout the U.S. and abroad, spending more time in the metro area. This is particularly gratifying to us because one of our goals in starting the Hy-Vee Triathlon was to showcase the Des Moines area and all the great venues we have here.”
He added that the $4.5 million economic impact figure doesn’t factor in the 1,000 participants in Saturday’s Hy-Vee IronKids U.S. Championship for youths ages 6 to 15 – most of whom will be bringing parents and family members with them when they come to compete for national titles.
“When you include the number of people who will be in Des Moines for the IronKids championship, that $4.5 million figure grows even higher,” Hirl said.
Greg Edwards, president and CEO of the Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau and Des Moines Area Sports Commission, said the city is proud to host the Hy-Vee Triathlon event, now in its sixth year.
“This event brings new visitors and new dollars into our community, while showcasing our region as a premiere health and wellness destination,” Edwards said.