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Athletic events good for economy, community

by Alexandra Anthony Staff Writer
| June 30, 2010 9:00 PM

The scenic landscape and beautiful lakes of North Idaho provide the perfect backdrop for many athletic events.

And those athletic events provide a nice boost to our local economy.

"I think any event you bring to a community is a good marketing tool - especially to a tourism-driven economy like North Idaho. The more exposure, the better. Not as many places can pull it off as well as Coeur d'Alene and the rest of North Idaho because of its beauty and attractions," said Alivia Body, regional economist for the Idaho Department of Labor.

2010 has more events and races than any year before.

"Northern Idaho continues every year to increase their number of races and triathlons," said Michelle Haustein, Ironman volunteer director and Coeur d'Alene Triathlon volunteer coordinator.

Taking place for the first time this year, alongside events including Ironman and The Coeur d'Alene Marathon, Triathlon and Duathlon is the Tunnels N Trestles Hiawatha Trail Run in Wallace.

"Hands down they bring in millions of dollars to Coeur d'Alene. They help the economy tremendously," said Ironman Race Director Mac Cavasar of the local races and athletic events.

Many of these dollars are going into the hands of local businesses.

"Volunteers, restaurants, drinking establishments, retail stores, vendors, etc., all benefit from races such as Ironman. Ironman draws a larger crowd and therefore, larger revenues due to the intensity of the race and the qualifying measures," Body said.

"From a social perspective, charitable races help raise money for research and development of certain diseases or disorders. Although most of that research and development is not being done right here in our local health care industry but, we as a society, are being responsible and doing the right thing by giving to these charitable events. I'm not sure if you would include the North Idaho College-sponsored races charitable, but they raise money to help support their programs - which, in turn, betters the community," she said.

Beyond being good for the pocketbook, these races are also good for the soul - and for the health of the community.

"It gives people motivation to work out, and set healthy goals for themselves. Ironman is a life changing event by itself. People can volunteer to become more familiar with the event, and even volunteering has a positive impact on ones life," Cavasar said.

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