Following the immense success of the ITU World Triathlon held on our shores in April of last year, Bermuda is once again gearing up for another exciting weekend of world-class triathlon action!
The 2018 race saw reigning ITU World Champion Flora Duffy’s spectacular win alongside 84 other elite athletes who participated. In total there were 304 overseas athletes and nearly 900 visitors to the event, generating an overall economic impact of $4.4 million. Nearly 300 local adults competed in the age group races and 212 children aged 7 to 15 participated in the kids’ duathlon.
Largely due to the immense success of our first year of WTS Bermuda, the Bermuda Tourism Authority put in a bid for the 2021 Final—and won! Over 3,000 participants are expected to compete with a future impact of $16.6 million on GDP, representing a 474 percent return on investment. Not bad for our tiny island nation!
As for this year, the 2019 MS Amlin World Triathlon Bermuda is expected to be even bigger and better, according to World Triathlon Bermuda (WTSBDA) project manager Alec Shepherd, who filled us in on all we need to know for the upcoming race scheduled for Saturday, April 27.
How many elite athletes are we expecting this year?
The elite athletes confirm their entries in the weeks leading up to the event and names will be announced then; however, it will be 110 if they are all confirmed to participate (55 male, 55 female). The elite triathletes are working towards the Tokyo Olympics now and will earn qualifying points from the MS Amlin World Triathlon Bermuda 2019. This is new from last year.
How many age group athletes are you expecting?
Last year we had a combined total of more than 600 age group athletes, including relay teams and we are looking forward to welcoming more this year. Relays are a great way for sportspeople from other sporting disciplines to be involved if they are not confident doing all three… the Sprint (shortest) distance is a 750m swim, a 20k bike and a 5k run. Corporate teams, sports clubs and gym teams find this a really fun challenge.
Where are the best viewing spots on the course?
Front Street will be lined with spectator opportunities—watch from the grandstand or the roadside, or book a table on the balcony of one of the restaurants or cafés on Front Street that all have a spectacular vantage point for the swim, bike and run course and the ITU blue carpet finish zone. Corkscrew Hill at the top and from the bottom, as the athletes power up the signature feature of the Bermuda race, will also be an ideal spot.
Reid Street is also popular, from the top of Burnaby Hill to Queen Street, as it covers a thrilling part of the bike and run course. Runners are faced with going up Burnaby Hill four times in the latter stages of their race.
This year we are setting up a special family zone where people with children can watch the race, with refreshments available and entertainment for the kids.
What’s new for 2019?
Details of what’s new will be revealed closer to the time! OK, a hint: World Triathlon Bermuda merchandise, available from local retailers before the big weekend!
MS Amlin World Triathlon Bermuda 2019 volunteers will also notice a difference in the way they get information about the event; they can select their volunteer assignments based on their interest and available dates and times, all online, and will get regular news and updates about their roles.
Anything special planned for the Thursday night Harbour Nights?
Yes, Bermuda and our triathlon visitors can look forward to a fantastic opening ceremony on Thursday night, followed by the first Harbour Nights of the season. We’ll release more details in coming weeks.
How many visitors are estimated for this year?
It is difficult to know until after the event. Last year we had over 800 visitors come to the island for World Triathlon Bermuda and we hope to see even more this year.
What time does the RenaissanceRe Kids Duathlon start?
Start is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. (subject to change)
How many kids are you expecting to participate this year?
In 2018, the first time it was hosted, we saw 212 children from ages 7–15 compete—many of them doing a duathlon (run, bike, run) for the first time. We anticipate even more this year.
What impact did the success of the 2018 WTS Bermuda series have locally?
There has been a big increase in interest in the sport of triathlon on the island, especially among our children. TriHedz, the junior triathlon club that meets every Saturday morning at Clearwater Beach, saw record numbers after WTS Bermuda 2018 and this was sustained right up to the end of the season in October. The Iron Kids event also saw a huge increase in numbers with 281 children signing up in May 2018, as did the other races put on over the summer. The coaching clinics put on at the National Sports Centre by the Bermuda Triathlon Association (sponsored by Tokio Millennium Re last year) in the build up to April 2018 were attended by up to 70 children at each event and, inspired by the magic of Flora Duffy, they returned when we put more clinics on in September. We have also seen a healthy rise in people entering Bermuda’s other triathlon events and sign-ups for our adult coaching camps.
The economic impact was reported by PWC after the event and demonstrates a very positive impact. For example, the estimated historical impact on Bermuda’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was $4.4 million with a future tourism legacy impact of $19.9 million.
Bermuda’s shining beauty and exciting course were seen by 1.1 million people as they watched the TV coverage of the MS Amlin World Triathlon Bermuda elite races, which were broadcast in 21 countries on 29 different channels.
Increase in the Local Interest in Triathlon
TriHedz, Bermuda’s Junior Triathlon Club, has increased its membership size in 2018 by 30 percent since summer 2017, mainly in the 7 to 10 year old group.
The XL Catlin National Olympic Triathlon Championships, held on June 8, 2018, saw registration of juniors (ages 7 to 15) increase by 213 percent from 23 to 72 participants and adult registration increase by 252 percent from 31 to 118 participants.
On June 23, 2018, the 30th Annual Clarien Bank Iron Kids Triathlon saw an increase of 74 percent for kids who completed the event compared to the prior year, or an increase from 80 kids who completed in 2017 to 139 kids in 2018.
By the Numbers
For 2019, 110 elite athletes anticipated
Over 200 children expected in 2019’s duathlon
Economic impact from 2018 event: $4.4 million
Estimated future legacy tourism impact of 2018 event: $19.9 million
April 2018, an increase of 159 percent in air visitors who stated their purpose of travel was for “sports events/ training” compared to the prior year. For the week leading up to and during the event itself, there was an increase of 368 percent in air visitors who stated their purpose of travel was for “sports events/ training” compared to the prior year.
Total of 2,375 posts on social media (including Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Facebook), reaching nearly 6.5 million fans across 53 countries.
The estimated incremental on-island spend for the WTS Grand Final 2021
is $13.4 million, which results in an anticipated overall impact on GDP of $16.6 million. This would represent an estimated 1038 percent return on the $1.6 million investment by the government of Bermuda.
Based on survey results, the top five countries represented by overseas participants at WTS Bermuda 2018 were: United States, 52 percent; United Kingdom, 22 percent; Canada, 12 percent; United Arab Emirates, 3 percent; Denmark, 2 percent; and other countries, 9 percent.
Source: World Triathlon Series Bermuda 2018 Impact Study