Some things can’t be measured by money.
Sure, Ironman has had a nice economic impact on Coeur d’Alene. We’re a bit dubious that it actually nets in the $8 million-$10 million range annually because at this time of year, the hotels and restaurants and retail stores are mostly busy with visitors anyway, but there’s little question the money that flows from these athletes and their families helps our communities financially.
It’s also possible that after Ironman made North Idaho one of its homes, additional property has been gobbled up and perhaps businesses started by those who were introduced to the area by the event.
But now, looking in the rear-view mirror of a decade as hosts, citizens and other community officials can rightly weigh what Ironman means — and what impact it will continue to have since agreeing to a new five-year contract — to them.
While many of us in varying stages of codgerdom have been suitably inspired by Ironman to engage in healthier lifestyles, an even greater benefit might only now start to show up with our kids and grandkids.
Don’t believe it? Since Ironman arrived, look at how many more youngsters have become devoted to longer running events. Heck, look how many longer runs have been designed just for children.
The kiddie patrol will be out in force on Sunday, lining the streets with their voices screeching, cowbells ringing, signs held up encouraging somebody they know. To many of them this has become an annual rite, a truly important event. It’s a happening that very well may have our little ones thinking big a little further down the road.
And that, of course, is what Ironman means most: Demonstrating the ability to exceed what you might not have thought possible. For that reminder 10 years and thousands of times over, we salute you, Ironmen.