by Sue Linroth, Boulder Salt Company and Co-sponsor of The Story Bowl
Back in 2014 I engaged Sara Taylor (Currently the City’s Recreation Program Supervisor, but who was also race director at the time), about Boulder Salt partnering/sponsorship in some way with the Longmont Tri. I knew that I wanted it to be in a unique way, rather than the typical age group awards. Sara was very open to suggestions. When it came down to it, I wanted to be a part of an award that didn’t revolve around how fast a person is. I knew from experience that everyone out there has their own story behind getting into triathlon and some people are fighting a fight that you couldn’t imagine. They might be coming in 83rd in their division or even the last to cross the finish line, but there’s something remarkable about their spirit, inspiration, or journey that most people will never know.
So to take the thinking back a few years: before I ever did my first triathlon (which happened to be at the Longmont Tri), I would sign up to volunteer along with other members of Blue Sky Velo, a cycling and tri club I am a member of. I would get to talking to the athletes and was blown away by the stories I heard about what brought them to the event in the first place or why they kept coming back (it’s the longest running tri in Colorado, and maybe even the 48 contiguous states). Read Save the Longmont Triathlon Here
I would get into conversations with other people, including event staff, and tell them the stories. I realized pretty quickly that what I was doing, by reaching out and asking/sharing stories was somewhat unusual and gave people a very different insight into the athletes on course. As I thought about the award and wanting it to be unique, I came up with the idea to ask people to write down their stories, and then choose a few to recognize during the awards ceremony. With Sara’s help I contacted other sponsors, which tended to be independent, local business, told them of the idea and invited them to join me. Two other (long time) Longmont Tri sponsors (*Bob Cranny/Altitude Physical Therapy and Dr. Donna Mitchell/BodyPoint Medicine) were very enthusiastic about this type of award and we joined together to give three participants a very nice prize package based on their “story”.
The stories were broken into 3 categories: My first Longmont Tri, My most unique/funny Longmont Tri experience and My most memorable/inspiring Longmont Triathlon experience. Traditionally I talk to athletes during packet pick up and on race morning and invite them to write down their stories. The other sponsors and myself read the stories and select three (not necessarily one from each category, but we do try for a mixture when possible). Then those stories are read by the announcer immediately preceding the age group awards. Those athletes are awarded their prize package and get their pictures taken. It’s becoming a favorite 5-10 minute time period at the triathlon and a very nice way to honor the community of athletes that are drawn to this long-running hometown event – now in it’s 38th year!
*I would also like to point out the Bob and Donna, in addition to being longtime sponsors, both have a pretty long history of competing in the Longmont Tri! I have participated 2 or 3 times.
Missy C., Triathlon Veteran, Most Memorable Longmont Triathlon
I am currently a veteran of over 25 triathlons and Longmont is one of my favorites. It’s well organized, has great volunteers and always great post race food and other goodies. Most importantly though, I love the atmosphere: low-key, welcoming all abilities and especially encouraging first-timers. My all-time favorite triathlon memory was a few years ago here. . . a female participant was sitting by her bike after the swim leisurely enjoying a piece of chocolate cake! She said she had earned it, and obviously had no desire to rush through the experience. Triathlons do not have to be just a competition or a race. The journey to get there is the real reward, as much as the event itself.
Kirk D., Most Unique Longmont Tirathlon
In 2009, my wife convinced me to do the Longmont Tri with her. I only did it to support her and thught it would only be a 1-time thing. In 2010, I did my first Half Ironman!
Since 2009, I’ve done the Longmont Tri all but one year, Have done dozens of Sprints & Olympics and 3 Halfiron distance races.
Who knew it was so addicting?