Thursday, July 25, 2013

Tri-Interview from Race Director Colleen Klein

The perspective from the RD is different than a participant and was excited when Colleen Klein, RD for TriShark and Evergreen Tri agreed to do an interview. {I have participated in both her races in Central Illinois and loved them!}  I was also really shocked to read her response to #4.  Continue to pass the Swim.Bike.Run love! 

1. What got you started as a Race Director? What is your favorite thing about your job?
My local triathlon club, the Tri-Sharks, started a sprint triathlon back in 1994. I was a volunteer for the race the first few years and then took over as race director in 1998 . My favorite thing about the job would have to be all the volunteers over the years who have gotten bitten by the triathlon bug and now participate in races themselves.

2. As a RD, what are the most common USAT infractions you observe during races for seasoned triathletes?
Drafting continues to be the most common USAT rules violation at our local events for the seasoned triathletes. Unfortunately, it seems like we are seeing an upswing in unsportmanship- like conduct among some of our experienced participants. Participants cussing at other participants as well as volunteers and spectators is never tolerated.

3. What is the most common USAT issues for newbies that you see, any recommendations to help?
The most common USAT issue for newbies is probably the rule regarding no headphones. I often get emails after the race asking why someone got a penalty and the first thing I ask them is if they were using headphones during the run - they often just don't realize it is a time penalty. I think more education on the rules for newbies by Race Directors leading up to events would help. We often just post the mostly commonly violated USAT rules on our websites and assume that the participants are actually going to read them. Our local tri club has a training program for newbies each spring and they spend one evening just going over USAT rules and answering questions.

4. Any general advice for us?
The number of triathlon participants in some areas of the country has declined so much this season that quite a few races are being canceled due to the low numbers. I think we will see fewer triathlon choices in 2014 as a result of the declining numbers. It appears that triathlons are losing participants due to the increase in the number of obstacle runs and color runs and similar events. While the obstacle runs look like great fun with their party atmosphere, I am not convinced they are very safe! Hopefully such events are just a fad and they won't continue to impact triathlon participation to the degree we have seen this year.

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