Augusta Ironman Receives Top Rankings from Athletes
Athletes who participated in Augusta’s 70.3-mile Ironman triathlon in September apparently came away with good impressions of the competition, which sold out 3,600 spots for athletes and drew thousands more spectators.
In a pool of 102 Ironman races of the same length that year, the 2017 Athlete’s Choice Awards, which are based solely on athlete surveys, ranked the triathlon first in the overall swim category and seventh in the post-race swim category.
Approximately 55,000 athletes participated in the survey, which ranked the top 10 race locations for nine different categories including best host city experience, best race venue and best race to recommend to a friend.
“We’ve done well in the swimming category before,” said Stacie Adkins, CEO of the Augusta Sports Council, which manages the event. “I think the athletes like swimming here because it’s downstream. Our race produces good times for athletes.”
Adkins also believes locating the finish line at the Augusta Common has sold an experience to athletes that many of them enjoy. Athletes finish the race on a red carpet, and they find themselves in the middle of downtown life with plenty of local culture to take in.
“The Augusta Common is one of a kind and this result only solidifies the thought and effort put into making our athletes, spectators, volunteers and anyone else that strolls around on race day aware that we care about their experience,” said AJ Sills, race director for the event.
While the triathlon is known to provide an economic boost for the city every year (last year’s event brought in $4.7 million), Adkins said an often overlooked advantage to hosting the Ironman is the potential for good PR, although its effect is much more difficult to measure.
“People come in not only from around the country but internationally to see our town,” Adkins said. “You never know what athlete is thinking of moving their business.”
Registration for the 2018 race opened in December, and Adkins said the Sept. 23 event–the tenth annual Ironman in Augusta–is already just a couple hundred spots shy of selling out. She also said the council is planning on making some improvements to this year’s race, though she didn’t reveal any details.
Reach Witt Wells at (901) 319-8877 or at email@example.com.