THE countdown is on to this summer’s ironman event in Youghal and the east Cork town is already seeing a lift in visitor numbers.
The chairperson of the Youghal Business Alliance, Ger Flanagan, said east Cork is turning into a fitness destination, with people from all over the world coming to train for the long-distance triathlon event in June.
Ironman Youghal, which consists of a 3.8km swim, 180km cycle, and a 42km run, is the first full ironman event to come to Ireland and is guaranteed to take place in Youghal for the next three years.
Mr Flanagan, who also produces the East Cork Visitor Guide every year, said that the town is already seeing a huge boost in numbers from people preparing for the Ironman on June 23.
“We have already had visitors from as far away as New Zealand training for the ironman here in Youghal over the past couple of weeks and they have come from all over Europe as well.”
Mr Flanagan also said that there were a number of Irish athletes planning on making regular trips to Youghal over the next six months.
“The Sunday before Christmas I met a pair of cyclists down from Wexford who said they will be here two weekends a month between now and the ironman,” Mr Flanagan said.
The local businessman also said there were other cyclists making the trip to the east Cork town to try out the ironman route.
“I came across two cyclists from Cork one weekend who were cycling the route, they were not signed up for the race, they just wanted to do the route. It is bringing all this tourism in and it is great to see.”
Ironman events have become the ultimate test of athleticism and endurance around the world.
The original ironman triathlon is now the ironman world championship, held annually in Hawaii since 1978.