LAST year’s Ironman event brought almost £2.7 million to Bolton’s economy, it has been revealed.

Figures released by organisers show that athletes and visiting spectators spent an estimated £2,693,343 in the borough — a five per cent increase on 2011.

On July 22 last year more than 1,500 athletes from 34 countries converged on Bolton for the fourth annual Ironman UK.

It started with a 2.4-mile swim at Pennington Flash, a 112-mile bike ride through Rivington, Chorley and Adlington and a 26.2-mile run to Bolton town centre.

Ironman’s organisers surveyed 220 competitors and found that each brought an average of 2.2 spectators with them and stayed 2.7 days, spending an estimated total of £2,693,343, an increase of £120,880 on 2011.

Chris Wooley, who owns Broomfield House hotel in Wigan Road, Deane, said his takings doubled during the event.

He said: “We made about £1,500 to £2,000 over and above what we normally get.

“It was a boost and these days everything helps.

“The staff coped well even though we were up cooking breakfast at 3am. We normally do it at 8.30am.

“And we had guests from all over the world — Australia, Holland, Germany, Spanish, all sorts.

“We had about 35 people staying altogether and up to about 16 of them were competitors.”

Cappuccinos catering firm in Knowsley Street provided the food for race stewards last year.

Owner Jackie Muller said: “It was a boost to us but more importantly it was a boost to Bolton.

“It was fantastic and a great event for the town.

“We’re really looking forward to it coming back.”

This year’s event will take place on Sunday, August 4, but has already sold out.

Kevin Stewart, managing director of Ironman UK and Ireland, said: “This year’s race has sold out in a record nine weeks, which clearly demonstrates howmuch our athletes enjoy racing in and around the town of Bolton, further helped by the amazing atmosphere and support from the local crowds.”

The leader of Bolton Council, Cllr Cliff Morris, said: “Despite the economic conditions it’s fantastic news that there was an increase in spend compared to 2011.

“This just shows how important events like Ironman are for our local economy, and particularly for our town centre.”