Page 8

V23|NO32

ERICJOHNSON

Planning for the Ironman

Exhaustive effort brings together multiple agencies and over 1,000 volunteers

Though this year’s ESi Ironman 70.3 Augusta triathlon, which will be held on Sunday, September 30, might seem like a long way out, for the small group of Augustans coordinating the event, the race has been just around the corner ever since the last runner crossed the finish line last year. With 3,200 athletes and 1,000 volunteers, the sense of urgency that surrounds such a large and ambitious event never really lets up, and this year that urgency is dialed up a notch since a key member of the Augusta Sports Council team, Events Manager Randy DuTeau, will be participating. “I’m just doing the bike leg,” he says. “I’m not He-Man enough to do all those other pieces yet.” Still, the bike portion he’s committed to is 56 miles. Completing the race, local coach and triathlete Jim Christian will handle the 1.2 mile swim portion and a friend from Atlanta will do the running — all 13.1 mile’s worth. Though it might seem reckless for DuTeau to be on his bike during an event of such magnitude, he feels the race has matured to the point where he can do it. “The event has gone on three years, and right from the get-go our team, in support with the race owners, has done a really excellent job in terms of providing all the necessary support,” he says. “The World Triathlon Corporation (WTC) has a new race director who really understands the system, so we felt comfortable enough to hand it all to them and let me go out and race my bike.” Though it encompasses so much, the relationship between the Augusta Sports Council and the WTC is fairly simple. “We have the box of Legos and we separate all the colors and then they come in and put it all together,” he says. “It just seems to work out really well.” That might be a bit of an understatement, considering what the Sports Council contributes. “We’re considered the Local Organizing Committee,” says Executive Director Brinsley Thigpen. “We have responsibilities contractually with the WTC for things that we have to do here in Augusta.” One of the reasons the Augusta event has been so successful, she says, is the fact that Augusta has a strong, independent sports council. 8

METROSPIRITAUGUSTA’S INDEPENDENT VOICE SINCE 1989

“A lot of sports councils or commissions are part of the Convention and Visitors Bureaus, so they’re very interested in those hotel nights,” Thigpen says. “We are, too, but we’re more interested in bettering the city of Augusta through quality events.” Their ability to successfully manage an event was confirmed last year, when they signed a contract to host the event through 2014. “It’s always a piece of paper before it’s in a river or on a bike or in your running shoes,” Thigpen says. DuTeau’s ride isn’t just satisfying his desire to participate, however. The team believes they will learn a lot from having a representative competing side by side with the other athletes. “One of the things we pride ourselves on is customer service,” DuTeau says. “In a lot of ways, that’s what we do, so to be able to see what it’s like from the other side, I think, will be a unique perspective. Not only will the things we see help this event, but I think it will help for all the events.” The Augusta Sports Council supports upwards of 60 events a year, so that perspective should definitely be a benefit, not that they’re not already analyzing everything already. The Ironman has become Augusta’s second signature event behind the Masters, and they’re not about to take that for granted, which is why they start so early and work so thoroughly. “After we recover from the event on Monday, we like to start again, because we’re all geeks like that,” DuTeau says. In addition to Thigpen and DuTeau, there is only Carly Kobasiar, who handles sales and marketing, and newly hired Kaley Parker, who will serve as the race’s volunteer coordinator. “We fill about 1,100 volunteer positions,” Kobasiar says. “It’s probably 900 individual people — a lot of people do multiple shifts — but either way it’s pretty 9AUGUST2012

Metro Spirit 08.09.2012  

The Metro Spirit is a free weekly newspaper that serves readers in the Augusta and North Augusta area. Editorial coverage includes Richmond...

Metro Spirit 08.09.2012  

The Metro Spirit is a free weekly newspaper that serves readers in the Augusta and North Augusta area. Editorial coverage includes Richmond...

Advertisement