Ironman Race boosting businesses in Cambridge

CAMBRIDGE, Md. – Triathletes from across the country are flocking to Cambridge ahead of Saturday’s Ironman Race competition, and with them bringing a much-needed boost to businesses in the town.

“It’s the Olympics essentially for Cambridge it’s the biggest event we could possibly have,” said Carmela’s Cucina Owner Stefano Bono.

Bono told 47 ABC Carmela’s Cucina says typically seats about 100 walk-ins a day, but since they’re seeing that amount of people walk in before the lunchtime rush even starts.

They say most of those customers are prepping for the race, sporting their Ironman gear, and eating lots of pasta and pizza as a means of carb-loading for extra energy ahead of the race.

“Just being so busy in the span of a week really helps out we’ve had to bring in extra employees strictly for this week it been great,” Bono said.

Restaurants like Carmela’s aren’t the only businesses that stand to benefit from having hundreds of triathletes in town, Heirloom Gym Owner Karah Bunde figured this was the perfect chance for her venue to be the place for them to prepare.

Her cross-fit gym is offering a special discounted day pass for triathletes and their families.

“We really feel like we could provide a space where anyone wanted to do a last-minute recovery day work out pre-race or if they had any friends or family that was looking for something to do,” Bunde said.

According to Cambridge City Commissioner Chad Malkus, 2019’s race brought nearly 3.5 million dollars in outside revenue to the town, with nearly 92 percent of participants coming from out of town, and spending an average of $1,600 per person while staying around 4 nights in nearby hotels.

Tri-Athletes we spoke to say that’s probably because they need to eat a lot of food for fuel ahead of a race, and are happy to shop local while they do it.

“I come from a small town and I actually really love supporting these kinds of areas id rather come here and support a small business than go to those larger chains you may have,” said Triathlete Morgan Francis. 

Bono told 47 ABC their restaurant was planning on having extra pasta, and chicken parm ahead of those weekends, both popular items with the racegoers.

“We can’t sell it fast enough, we can’t even cook it fast enough for these guys,” Bono said.

Commissioner Malkus told 47ABC early numbers the town is looking at a show that support could be even more this year as more people are showing up.

He says that means  more triathletes staying in hotels, buying food, and shopping in Cambridge than ever before

Malkus says it’s a big reason they’re thrilled to have Ironman Maryland back in town.

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