1,700 Ironman Raleigh participants help boost city’s business

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Hundreds of racers flocked to Raleigh from across the world this weekend for the Ironman Triathlon.

Fr many businesses, it was an opportunity to make some extra money.

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Officials with the Ironman Raleigh Triathlon say about 1,700 people participated in Sunday’s race. The race included a 1.2-mile swim, 56 miles of biking, and 13.1-mile run — a total of 70.3 miles.

For the competitors who weren’t completely wiped out, they hit the town.

“I want a beer and a shower,” said George Gannon.

The shower would have to wait, because Gannon and his girlfriend, Sam Barton, were getting the beer first. Gannon says it took him about nine hours to drive down to Raleigh from Philadelphia.

He says the long drive is for more than just the Ironman race.

“I like to find an excuse to travel,” said Gannon.

Barton said it was a perfect chance for the two of them to see a new city.

“We were both excited to take a vacation together; a good trip and exploring Raleigh,” said Barton.

While they were in town they were spending money at restaurants, and other businesses in Raleigh – and there are hundreds like Gannon and Barton doing the same thing.

“It’s a very heavy, very busy day for us,” said Tracey Drotts.

Drotts is the manager of Z Pizza Taproom. The restaurant sits right at the finish line of the marathon.

She says for the last four years her staff knows to mark the day of the Ironman well in advance because they always see a rush.

The day starts around 5 a.m. prepping boxes and dough. Drotts says Sunday afternoon they already sold 500 pizzas.

Even though it’s hard work, Drotts says it pays off.

“It’s insane but it’s exciting and it’s fun,” she said.

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