Thousands of athletes from around the world are in the Scenic City competing in the IRONMAN 70.3.

The competition brings in millions of dollars for Chattanooga and Channel 3 learned IRONMAN will be part of the Scenic City experience for another five years.

It also benefits other parts of the Tennessee Valley like Walker County.

The historic roots of downtown Chickamauga can be seen in the people who pride themselves in living there.

Lynn Jewell is one of the owners of One Eleven Gordon. The gift shop has been around for nearly two decades.

"The good thing is a lot of locals come in and say 'we're so glad you're here. We don't want to have to go to the mall when we need a gift,’” Lynn Jewel of One Eleven Gordon said.

On Sunday, more than 3,000 athletes will bike through the area and get a glimpse of what the quaint town has to offer.

"We hope that that exposes Chickamauga, that it would get a lot of exposure because we need that. Like so many little towns, we're just sort of floundering and can't seem to keep things open,” Jewell said.

Jewell hopes the charm of Chickamauga will convince the athletes and their families to spend more time here or plan another visit in the future. She's seen it happen before with a woman and her daughter.

"I was just kind of surprised to know they came all the way down here. The mother said 'I just wanted my daughter to see the shop and the area and they enjoyed it. In fact, the daughter said she enjoyed the Chattanooga area, she liked it so well she was considering moving down here,” Jewell said.

A large part of the IRONMAN 70.3 bike course runs through Walker County.

It gives Jimmy Coppinger and his neighbors a chance to watch from their homes and see the athletes compete.

"Cheer them as they come through. Just kind of something to look forward to each year,” Coppinger said.

Coppinger and Jewell agree exposing more people to the sights and sounds of this town rich in history is a good thing.

"All the extra people that we can have that discovered us and come back is certainly a big help to all of the businesses,” Jewell said.

The race starts Sunday at 6:50 A.M. Those who do well enough in the race will head to South Africa for the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship.