An influx of visitors for yesterday's Ironman 70.3 Shepparton meant the victors weren't the event's only winners, with local businesses sharing in the spoils.FIONA BROOM November 19, 2012 4:50am
Keat makes it another Shepparton victory November 19, 2012
Those who crossed the finish line at yesterday’s Ironman 70.3 Shepparton and snagged a spot at the world championships weren’t the only winners from the event — the influx of visitors meant the town and its businesses also came out on top.
About 1400 competitors from across Australia, with families, support crews and friends, made the trek to what has become Shepparton’s premier sporting event.
Thousands of cars filled Kialla Lakes and families sprawled on grassy patches around the lake as the iron men and women took on the gruelling event.
Among the visitors was the Coomealla Triathlon Club, from the NSW side of the Murray River near Mildura.
Competitor Lars Kogge estimated he spent about $700 on accommodation, meals, petrol, entry and other expenses during his four-day stay in Shepparton.
‘‘We went to the GV Hotel for dinner last night and there’s a party there tonight. We couldn’t even get a park in our hotel after dinner,’’ he said.
‘‘We had a very nice breakfast at Stefanos this morning. It must be good for the economy.’’
Coomealla club president Peter Gray agreed the income for Shepparton must be ‘‘astonishing’’.
Mr Kogge said he signed up competitors from the club one minute after entries opened and booked accommodation immediately to avoid missing out — though those lucky people who got late entries had some trouble.
‘‘I have a friend who slept on a mate’s couch in his room because otherwise she’d be sleeping in the back of the ute,’’ he said.
The seasoned triathletes praised the volunteers who helped run the triathlon, while Shepparton’s weather also got the nod.
They said the well-organised event also shone a spotlight on fitness and staying active.
‘‘It’s impeccable, brilliant — there’s nothing else you can say,’’ Mr Gray said.
As bow-legged competitors stretched out cramped muscles, volunteer Matt Tracy continued handing out drinks to those finishing their three laps of the lake.
He said the mostly local volunteers had watched the event grow year on year.
‘‘Last year really upped the ante,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s a pretty positive thing for the town. I can imagine it would bring a lot of people to the town and it highlights Shepparton in a positive way.’’
The Ironman 70.3 Shepparton is also attracting future triathletes.
Mr Tracy said his seven-year-old daughter watched Saturday’s kids’ triathlon with a view to getting involved next year — when she’s a bit steadier on her bike.
Water has been returned to Kinnairds and Black wetlands to help with their revitalisation after bushfire damaged them in February.
More than 2200 people have signed up to show their support for a campaign to have the green route chosen for the new Yarrawonga Mulwala bridge.
Members of Murchison Book Club are hosting a literary lunch with Vivien Achia, author of Marrying Italian — When Love is Not Enough.
Matches were split up over Good Friday and Easter Saturday throughout the region.
Painter Ben Winspear and Scott Wileman will create new works as the public look on during the at Rochester Art Exhibition.
Kyabram Bombers have the chance to beat Rochester under light for the first time this Friday evening.
Lions star recruit had a tough introduction to the GVFL.
Tocumwal's Don Elgin is aiming to compete at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Scotland
Eighty residents at a forum determined the Heathcote Community Plan was on track but need some fine tuning.
Cobram skate park hosts skateboarding and music for youth week.
Senior state minister Adrian Piccoli reaquainted himself with Deniliquin yesterday, leaving Deniliquin Counil hopeful it has an ally in him.
With his blue eyes and snow-coloured coat, Nanneella horse Sinatra has looks worthy of a fairytale.
Fourteen-year-old Benalla girl Jaimee Linke will launch her debut novel next month.
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