Nelson Mandela Bay is expecting a major economic boost from the tenth edition of Ironman South Africa in Port Elizabeth this weekend.
More than 2000 athletes are participating in this endurance event, with a crowd of 70 000 plus expected at Hobie Beach for the main event on Sunday. The city boasts features such as the Boardwalk Casino and Entertainment Complex opposite Hobie Beach.
Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber President, Mandla Madwara says, “This event has always had both direct and indirect economic spin-offs. That is the money that is being spent say through accommodation, restaurants, and of course buying curios and other tourism products. It’s been pumping money in that respect. We’ve got this royal family from Bahrain who alone spent about R2.4 million on accommodation and car hire for example.”
Tickets for this year’s event have been sold out. Race Director Paul Wolff says they have made a few changes for this year’s event.
“For safety and security reasons we changed the swim to a 3.8 km continue swim. We’ve got three separate waves so we let the athletes spread out a bit more. It is going to be a little bit easy because they don’t have to go through the waves because a lot of international guys from upcountry aren’t used to duck and diving on big waves and swimming. Now they don’t have to go in extra twice to the sea and enter again so that’s made it a lot safer,” says Wolff.
“On the bike side, we have too many athletes. Even the previous years on three loops of 60 so we taking them on three loops of 90,” Wolff adds.