A £4MILLION boost to the Welsh economy was generated as a result of last year’s Ironman Wales.

The ultimate triathlon endurance event, held in Pembrokeshire for the third year in a row last September, saw 1,800 athletes from 40 countries converge on Tenby.

During the week leading up to the race, athletes spent nearly £1.2m on food and accommodation. More than half of them stayed in self-catering properties or guest houses, 23 per cent in an hotel and 13 per cent camped.

Each athlete brought an average of 4.15 spectators, who spent an estimated nearly £2.5m on food and accommodation.

Over half of the contestants visited Pembrokeshire before race week for training or to look at this course, spending an estimated £339,000 in the process.

With 57 per cent of athletes having never visited Pembrokeshire before the event, 98.9 per cent said they would return in the future.

Welsh economy minister Edwina Hart said: “The Welsh Government is delighted to support Ironman Wales, and these figures reveal the significance of its contribution to the local tourism industry and Welsh economy.

“The coverage which the event gets in the media is also a fantastic platform to showcase Pembrokeshire and Wales to the world.”

The event also gave a helping hand to charity, with over £400,000 raised last year for its official good causes, Scope and Macmillan Cancer Support.

The 2014 Ironman Wales, on Sunday September 14, has already reached a record 2,200 entries, but extra places have been released for Welsh residents.

This follows the re-location of the athlete village to create more space for entrants.

Athletes who would like to enter the event should register via www.ironmanwales.com and select the Cais o Gymru category.

For more information, visit www.ironmanwales.com