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A Letter from Celeste: Get out and Du it!
Hey, All --
For some reason, I decided to pick up USAT's gauntlet and carry it a little further than National Events Director Jeff Dyrek intended.
Duathlon numbers are bared down to bones. I understand that just 200 came to the National Championship in 2008. Duathlon Commissioner Mike Plumb and I got together and decided that, yes, we needed to promote the cachet of duathlon - and we created a plan to do it. And the duathlon vets approve.
That plan has been divided into three stages and is being developed by nightly teleconference calls, as we speak. It will appear on the USAT website quite soon - meaning, yes, quite soon. But right now I want us to consider the most vital stage of the plan.
Numbers talk. Mike and I think that USAT will treat us less like a step child (Dear USAT: This imagery has been around for a long time, so no boxing gloves needed) if we have....more numbers. To that end, there is a series being created at the grassroots level to get women and men, in gender separate novice races, introduced to duathlon. But growth in the sport from that direction will take several years.
So, for some reason unknown to me, I pulled from my ear a goal number for attendance at nationals in April in Richmond in 2009: 1000. What I envision is that a large chunk of triathlon Team USA, as well as all members of duathlon Team USA, would sign up for this event.
Now. Those of you, like me - still injured - can call ourselves fodder for the seed and make it a long, but patriotic, day. Triathletes not going to St. Anthony's can use the event as a season sharpener. Those who have never done a duathlon of this length 10k/40k/5k can challenge themselves. Those who are not one bit interested in duathlon can participate as though this were a birthday party game. A thousand participants at nationals in April - and let's not get into why it is in April and why it is in Richmond - will make a formidable statement to USAT. Contribution in the form of the presence of triathletes will be considered by the duathletes as an earnest gift of time and energy, as well it will be. When one part of our body is suffering, the rest rushes to its aid. Same with families, same with multisport.
As well, I see no reason why spouses and friends who can walk or run and know how to ride a bike could not train for this event - just for a good time. Who knows? This spouse or friend may come to like the sport...and thus the sport grows. And duathlon is saved and does not morph into run-frisbee-bike.
Please sign up December 1. You will save duathlon and you will save me.
-- CELESTE CALLAHAN , Duathlon Liaison to USAT Board of Directors and Team USA Triathlon and Duathlon Member