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Boston Bounces Back with Annual Triathlon
Triathletes are also runners. And when tragedy struck at the Boston Marathon, it hit close to home for the triathlon community as well as ethos, the organizers of the Boston Triathlon. Ethos had recently acquired the Boston Triathlon and was already planning for the August event. “This year, the marathon touched our team and the triathlete community in a very real way,” said Michael O’Neil, founder of ethos.
“We all have personal stories from that day. Our race director, race founder and friend Will Thomas had just crossed the finish line when the bombs went off,” O’Neil said. “However, Boston is a very resilient city and we knew that triathletes would embrace the chance to race in this iconic destination.”
This Sunday, athletes from across the city and across the nation will come together in the USA Triathlon-sanctioned event, taking place along Carson Beach in South Boston. Nearly 1,000 athletes will compete in the sprint triathlon. The event finishes on the beach in South Boston, where athletes can celebrate with friends and family at the post-race party.
2008 U.S. Olympic triathlete Jarrod Shoemaker, a native of Maynard, Mass., will return to Boston to compete in his first Boston Triathlon. Like every athlete from the area, he understands the reaction of the city after the marathon. “The culture of Boston and eastern Massachusetts is in part defined by the marathon every spring. Growing up, both my parents ran the marathon every year. My first marathon experience came from biking with my parents while they ran. This year, my mom finished just three minutes before the bombs went off.”
“For several years, I have known about the goal of bringing a big-time triathlon to Boston. For it finally to be happening at this level is amazing and I want to be part of it,” continued Shoemaker. “This race will continue to grow and will be something that we can all be very proud of.”
Across the country, people are heading to Boston to compete in the Boston Triathlon. Included are a group of first responders from New York City. These members of FDNY and FDNY EMS will travel to Boston as guests of the Boston Fire department. They will compete in the Boston Triathlon as a way of showing solidarity with the first responders from Boston.
As race director for the Boston Marathon and a member of the USA Triathlon Hall of Fame, Dave McGillivray has seen firsthand how athletes don’t want to let the events of the marathon define them. “Immediately after the marathon, people were asking to be part of next year’s event. It was as if people were saying ‘we will not be denied, no one will take away our running freedom,’” McGillivray said.
As founder of Dave McGillivray Sports Enterprises (DMSE), McGillivray has produced hundreds of races and triathlons in Boston and New England. He dreams of one day bringing the ITU World Championship Series to Boston. “Boston is a great destination for just about everyone. The history and tradition of the city draws people in and any type of endurance event, including a quality event like the Boston Triathlon, adds to the attraction,” continued McGillivray. “Mike O’Neil is bringing the Boston Tri up to a higher level and I give him a lot of credit for doing so.”
Ethos has spent the last few months concentrating on the athlete experience and ensuring that the Boston Triathlon becomes a destination for those interested in endurance events. The organization has implemented a turnkey online registration system, focused on the transition areas and ensured that the course is both competitive and easy to understand. Ethos has worked hard with partners such as Michelob Ultra, Tribe, TYR, Gatorade and City Sports, to create a post-event celebration for athletes and their families.
“The athlete experience is the most critical element of any endurance event,” O’Neil said. “These athletes train for months if not years to participate in these events. If they don’t enjoy the experience, they won’t be back. We want the Boston Triathlon to continue to be a destination for years to come. And we are working hard with our partners and the City to ensure that is the case.”
The Boston Triathlon has enjoyed considerable support both the City and the State Department of Conservation and Recreation, which maintains the beach where the event takes place.
“Rather than shying away from public athletic contests, Bostonians have embraced the opportunity to come together for events such as the Boston Triathlon. It is a testament to our city that, in the aftermath of the bombings at the Marathon, Boston continues to be a world-class destination for athletes,” Mayor Thomas M. Menino said. “These events help to showcase all that Boston has to offer and I look forward to seeing all the athletes come into the city.“
Registration for the Boston Triathlon is still open. Individuals interested in being part of the event can register at http://active-ethos.com.