Tinman drew largest attendance in years
ROOST survey also shows many didn’t spend night in Tupper Lake since hotels filled up quickly
TUPPER LAKE — The Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism released their annual survey results from the Tinman Triathlon, showing almost 200 more athletes participating this year than last — a 39% increase — but also showing a large increase in those who did not stay overnight.
According to the survey of the June 29 race, 697 people ran, biked and swam this year, up from 504 last year, and the most participants of the event in recent years.
Race Director Wendy Peroza said triathlon attendance sort of flows with the economy, as it is an expensive sport to compete in, and that it has recently bounced back.
ROOST Tupper Lake Regional Marketing Manager Katie Stuart said ROOST has been advertising with more online triathlon publications and online groups this year.
The survey was completed by 204 of the contestants, resulting in a 5% margin of error.
Records kept by Peroza show 391 racers in 2015 and 538 in 2016. She said in the 2000s the Tinman would bring in up to 1,000 contestants.
Where did they come from? Where did they stay?
Most came from New York, Quebec and New Jersey, and on average they traveled almost 200 miles. Some came from as far as California and Florida.
Over 50% of those surveyed stayed at hotels or motels, 6% more than last year, but on average they did not stay long.
Last year, only 2% of respondents did not spend a night in the area. This year, the number of one-day visitors sprung up to 16%.
On the other hand, there was also an increase in longer-term stays. Around 11% stayed for four nights or more, up 3% from last year.
A smaller percentage of responding racers stayed in Tupper Lake than in past years. This seemed to be because of a lack of lodging in the area. Tinman coincides with high school graduation weekend.
“Tupper’s full,” Stuart said of that weekend. “It’s at max capacity.”
Thirty-five percent of responding racers stayed in Tupper Lake; last year that figure was 43%. This year, more survey respondents stayed in Saranac Lake than Lake Placid, 27% and 13%, respectively.
Almost half of the respondents, 45%, said they only raced Tinman and did not do anything else in the area, up 5% from last year.
Of those that did stick around in the area, 27% shopped, 23% got out in the outdoors, 22% visited other towns, 12% visited the Wild Center, and 4% visited Little Wolf Beach.
Visitors spent an estimated $435,972 while staying in the area, generating an estimated $13,715 in county sales tax. This was a 39% increase in spending from last year ($312,650.57), matching the 39% attendance increase.
For 58% of respondents, this was their first Tinman, up 12% from last year. At the end-of-race survey 93.63% said they’d participate again.
Stuart said this showed the care the organizers put into the Tinman. Peroza said she could not do it without the 200 to 300 volunteers who help each year.