POPULAR EVENT: Emma Moffat receives congratulations from spectators after finishing third in last year’s Mooloolaba Triathlon.
POPULAR EVENT: Emma Moffat receives congratulations from spectators after finishing third in last year’s Mooloolaba Triathlon. Warren Lynam

Mooloolaba brings in big bucks for Coast

USM Events chief executive Geoff Meyer credits the Mooloolaba Triathlon with providing a timely boost to the Sunshine Coast economy.

Considering the projected injection of more than $14 million on the back of this weekend's event is expected, it is hard to argue with him.

In its 24th year, it is "one of the biggest events of its kind in the world".

Meyer said Mooloolaba and its sister event, the Noosa Triathlon, were USM's flagship events.

"They are the biggest events of their kind globally," he said. "Noosa and Mooloolaba are our biggest participation events and are globally well respected as well.

"The economic impact it brings to the region is very significant."

Meyer said that economic impact benefited almost every facet of the local economy.

"Mooloolaba was just over $14 million last year and Noosa was $19.5 million (last year), which are government figures and not numbers pulled out of the air," he said.

"That's money spent in the local economy and that figure does not include the international TV distribution and the marketing and media value that goes along with it.

"From the hotels to the restaurants to every other supplier, it does make a big contribution to the economy."

The competition is renowned for drawing the biggest names in the business and this weekend will be no different, with six of the top 10 men and women ITU athletes on the start lists.

"Emma Moffatt will be here and Adam Royle, who have already been selected for the Commonwealth Games," Meyer said.

"Commonwealth Games selection is a big inducement this weekend, with a lot of them treating this as a genuine hitout."

The Mooloolaba Triathlon has shifted to a sprint format - 750m swim, 20km bike ride and 5km run - for the elite competitors for the first time in its history.

The professional athletes have traditionally competed over the Olympic distance - 1.5km swim, 40km bike and 10km run - at Mooloolaba.

A push by the International Triathlon Union to have a sprint distance event at the Olympics was a major influence in the change in race format.

Another reason for the change is due to the number of Olympic-distance events in close proximity to the Mooloolaba race.

festival SCHEDULE

Twilight Run, tonight 6pm

Ocean Swim, Saturday 10.30am

Women's Triathlon, Saturday noon

Open Criterium, Saturday 1.30pm

Men's Triathlon, Saturday 3pm

Open age group, Sunday 6.30am

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