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Swansea sport spectacular set to attract thousands of new visitors

When Nic Beggs dives into the Prince of Wales Dock to start his IRONMAN 70.3 Swansea triathlon with a 1.2-mile swim, he’ll be cheered on by at least seven close relatives.

Lots of friends and work colleagues from Freedom Leisure with also be in the crowds.

Three close relatives will be visiting the city from Carmarthenshire, two from England’s South East, and two from the local Swansea area.

They’ll all spend the day in the city, enjoying breakfast in a local café and lunch in a city restaurant.

Nic’s story illustrates how the nearly 2,000 athletes competing in the gruelling sports challenge will bring a timely boost to the local economy of Swansea and Gower.

Organisers estimate the event will bring an economic boost upward of £2.5m to the region, as tens of thousands of athletes, supporters, volunteers and staff travel to the Swansea area for the race weekend.

With competitors coming from around the UK and Europe, many will be booked with local accommodation providers.

Nic, area manager for not-for-profit Freedom Leisure that runs council leisure facilities for the people of Swansea, said: “It’ll be great to have my family around to be among the thousands of supporters around the course – and they’ll be spending money with Swansea businesses.

“IRONMAN is a world-class brand to bring to Swansea, it’s the Rolls-Royce of fitness events, a real top-end experience for athletes. The atmosphere created by visitors tends to be a real festival experience; in Swansea I hope it’ll help me during the more painful bits of the event!

“There’ll always be some businesses that have to adapt and the Freedom-run LC Swansea is one of them. We’ll adapt and stay open for all to visit; other businesses will hopefully embrace the event as we will – and will see even more benefits in the coming years. On balance the people of Swansea will be big winners in this.”

Father-of-two Nic, aged 51, is training seven days a week for this, his third IRONMAN event. He knows it’ll be tough – but that’s a challenge that he and fellow triathletes thrive on, cheered on by family and friends.

Nic lives in West Wales. His wife, daughter and son will be looking on as will his Swansea-based parents-in-law and his own parents who’ll travel from home in Kent to spend time in and around Swansea for the best part of a week around the event. He’s planning a big family meal in Swansea to hopefully celebrate finishing the event and to enjoy all the family being together.

The field of athletes in Swansea will include triathlon debutant Dave Lanham, who’s in charge of maintenance at Freedom Leisure’s Swansea venues.

Freedom operations director Jeremy Rowe – once general manager of LC predecessor Swansea Leisure Centre – will also compete.

Freedom regional manager Lee Thomas, a Swansea boy now living in Worcester, will take part as will Freedom chief executive officer Ivan Horsfall Turner.

Between them the Freedom five expect to attract more than 40 supporters.

Ivan Horsfall Turner said: “I’m looking forward to taking part in the event.

“IRONMAN is a great brand and it’s an exciting time for this area as IRONMAN 70.3 Swansea takes place for the first time.

“I’m looking forward to tackling the course with the support of family, friends and colleagues – and seeing the long-term impact it will have on inspiring our local communities to be active”.

Swansea’s first IRONMAN 70.3 triathlon is due to be held on Sunday, August 7 – boosting the local economy and bringing international attention to the region.

The IRONMAN 70.3 Swansea triathlon – a 1.2-mile swim, a 56-mile bike ride and a 13.1-mile run – will also bring a financial boost to local organisations whose members volunteer in groups.

Swansea Council is supporting the event, along with the Volvo 2022 World Triathlon Para Series Swansea planned for August 6.

Council cabinet member Robert Francis-Davies said: “I applaud triathletes like Nic and his Freedom colleagues – and I welcome all their supporters who’ll bring new money to local businesses.

“There’s a huge appetite for quality events in this part of the world. Competitors and their supporters will be coming from far and wide – for training days as well as the event itself – and I’m sure they’ll be amazed by our fabulous natural beauty, Swansea’s brilliant hospitality sector and the warm welcome that Swansea always extends to visitors.

“With the Volvo 2022 World Triathlon Para Series Swansea being held here on August 6, it’s going to be a great sporting weekend for us.

“These events along with all the others that the city hosts each year, will hopefully inspire even more people to compete in sport – competitive or recreational and to enjoy our fabulous local area and facilities.”

The council made a series of policy commitments in June to deliver support – in the subsequent 100 days – to communities that will make a real difference to people’s lives. Delivering a biggest ever events programme was one of those commitments.

The events of August 6 and 7 will mean short-term temporary road arrangements across the city and on Gower.

Thousands of leaflets, including route maps and road closure schedules, have been mailed to affected local householders by organisers, who have also contacted local businesses and organisations.