On May 15, 2023, the City of Morro Bay will host the city's first Ironman triathlon and expects about 12,000 visitors to the town because of it.
Michael Lombard, the Executive Director for Visit Morro Bay, told KSBY, “We have a half Ironman, which is a 70.3, happening here, Morro Bay, which we're extremely excited about. The swim will take place in our harbor. The run — we're figuring out what the course is going to look like, but the run will happen throughout our area and then the bike will happen on Highway 1, which we're very excited about.”
The city anticipates spending about $20,000 on the event with the Ironman organization contributing about another $20,000.
“The cost is going to be borne by the event, as it should be. And we're expecting anywhere between $200,000 to $300,000 of tax revenue that will far outweigh the probably $20,000 to $30,000 in cost to the city,” explained Scott Collins, Morro Bay City Manager.
“The business is good for the town. I don't get much business during the tours and stuff, but the business is good for the town and brings lots of people in,” said Pamela Arsenault, owner of Morro Bay Jewelers.
Arsensault went on to say of other big races that come into town, "I shut the doors and go outside to watch.”
“I’m probably going to go on my friend’s boat and watch all these guys swim around us on the boat,” added Hayden Davis, a Los Osos resident.
Mary Simonds said, “It brings more people to the community. They spend money in the shops and buy food and the restaurants.”
The city says it expects more international tourism because of the event.
City officials say the event will be a large volunteer event as well, with support staff staying in local hotels to ensure the operations run smoothly.
People can access the city's Ironman race website here.