June has been a busy month for Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent as we welcomed two major events to the county. IRONMAN Staffordshire 70.3 and the 2018 UK Corporate Games.
The Ironman saw over 2,500 competitors from all over the world complete a 1.2 mile swim, a 56 mile bike ride and 13.1 mile run, which took in some of Staffordshire’s most beautiful countryside. The event was contested by some of the leading international male and female’s professional athletes; however it was the first time competitors that inspired us the most. The youngest athlete was just 18, the oldest an impressive 76! The race featured the highest number of females of any of the UK events and we had our first visually impaired athlete complete the course, it really did challenge the perception that long distance events are for the talented few.
Later in the month, 4,000 competitors descended on the county for the 2018 UK Corporate Games, a three day festival of sport for business. Participants represented their companies in over 23 sports, hosted at venues across the county, including everything from dragon boating racing to table tennis. It’s encouraging the businesses to use sport as a tool to integrate teams and build morale.
We often talk about the impact of major events in terms of inspiring participation, the health benefits to those competing, and the social cohesion it can bring to local communities. It is also worth remembering that these events have a profound impact on the local economy, in 2015 the combined impact of Ironman Staffordshire 70.3 and The Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Corporate Games was 4.5 million pounds. A good reminder of the importance that a wider impact of physical activity and sport can have.
And of course you’ll be aware there is a major event happening further afield, the whole SASSOT team is looking forward to Russia and the World Cup…with my sweep stakes pick out in the first round, I think I’ll be watching Wimbledon instead!