I had the distinct privilege to serve the sport in three different roles at IRONMAN Lake Placid 2019. I served with Team MPI Senior Coach Laura Henry on the IMU Certified Coach Event Team, I was on the race rules officials team, and I had the honor of leading the newly launched USAT National Officials Recruitment effort during race week.
Hat #1: Coach
It is always a blast working in the Become One tent with fellow IMU Certified Coaches from around the country. Getting to know and work with colleagues in my profession is a true joy. Building cooperative relationships and networking is only part of the fun. Meeting and talking with so many athletes, especially those who are getting ready for their first IRONMAN, helps me gain so much appreciation for the wide array of people involved in our sport. I love talking to athletes because I love coaching and all the conversations and questions help make me a better coach. The days are long but when you have that conversation with an athlete where you are able to give them reassurance about race day or some vital piece of information the reward is in their smile. It was especially cool to watch Zach Stinson, a wounded Marine Veteran, compete in the Handcycle Division in his first… wait for it… triathlon. He had a great race day and it was awesome to catch sight of him and cheer him on throughout the day.
Hat#2: IRONMAN Official
Lake Placid is one of my favorite venues. What a great time I had talking with athletes throughout race week! I love to share knowledge about the rules to help athletes better understand the competitive rules and avoid penalties. I am super lucky to have the opportunity to see the sport from a totally different vantage than only as a participant. This year was the Men’s Pro Race which always adds an element of excitement to race week. The weather was absolutely perfect for race day; maybe too perfect, as a number of athletes went out a little too hard on the first loop of the bike and paid for it later.
Hat #3: USAT Rules Education Coordinator and Lake Placid Recruitment Lead
USAT launched a national recruitment effort during July. The goal is to add more new officials to the program nationally and to educate people on the role that officials play and how the officials program works. I served as the representative for USAT at the Lake Placid outreach. We partnered with IRONMAN and the Tri-Club tent as tri clubs are an area of focus for us in this recruitment effort. I talked to athletes, coaches and race directors during race week explaining the program and answering questions about the program and the USAT competitive rules. Thanks to this partnership we are off to a great start in growing the ranks of USAT officials.
All in all it was a long race week, with many new friends made. I returned home tired but deeply encouraged by the work and what was accomplished at Lake Placid. As a coach and an official it was a truly rewarding week.