Last updated: January 27. 2014 2:52PM - 829 Views
By Lauren Williams Staff Writer

Lauren Williams/Sampson IndependentDr. Tommy Newton, far right, shows fellow triathlon planning committee members a race flyer. The committee met last week to continue making plans for this year's March 29th event.
Lauren Williams/Sampson IndependentDr. Tommy Newton, far right, shows fellow triathlon planning committee members a race flyer. The committee met last week to continue making plans for this year's March 29th event.
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Preparations are under way for the fifth annual Sampson County Super Sprint Triathlon with the planning committee having already met a couple of times, discussing everything from volunteer recruitment, race shirt options, and improvements that can be made from last year’s race.

With 4-H Youth Development agent Amanda Bradshaw in the lead, the rest of the committee is made up of community leaders and members who are experts in their fields, including Dr. Tommy Newton with Fitness Renaissance, Janna Bass with the Clinton-Sampson Chamber of Commerce, Vickie Crane with the Sampson County Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Sampson Regional Medical Center-Center for Health and Wellness staff, Eric Nance, Nancy Brake, Towanda Outlaw, and Robin Palmer.

The variety of people on the committee is key to making the upcoming triathlon, scheduled for March 29, a success, Bradshaw pointed out.

“They help get the word out and they have relationships with those in the community,” she said, particularly of Bass and Crane, noting how vital the two women are to helping get race information out and to helping welcome race participants, especially those not from Sampson or the surrounding areas, to Clinton.

Of the Wellness Center staff, Bradshaw shared that she couldn’t imagine the event without them.

“They bring so much experience to the table as both race participants and coordinators; they’ve seen it from both sides,” she said. “This (the Center for Health and Wellness) is what people think of when they think of exercising and living healthy; this is the center of it. It’s only right that they be a big part of it.”

Calling him her “co-leader,” Bradshaw also praised Newton for his help and involvement in the now annual, much anticipated race.

“What doesn’t he bring to the table,” she asked, trying to narrow down one thing to say about Newton and his assistance. “He brings a lot of knowledge about this community to our meetings, and he has such a motivation to help kids be healthier. That’s his inspiration.”

With a couple of meetings already behind them, the planning committee will continue to meet every other week up until the third or fourth week out from the race, setting the pace before sprinting to the finish line. “Then we’ll start having meetings once a week to make sure everything is on schedule and getting done.”

In addition to planning the race itself, Bradshaw, the committee and others in the community are also busy making preparations for the “Drive In, Drive Out” car show which is set to be held the same day as the race but in the afternoon, giving those in town that morning for the race a local event to attend and an opportunity to explore Clinton, particularly the downtown area, later in the day.

Although planning this year’s triathlon and accompanying events adds to their already busy schedules, Bradshaw stressed that all committee members are on board and committed to not just the race itself but also to it’s larger purpose and anticipated impact.

“This race brings in a lot of out-of-towners,” she noted, guessing that around 75 percent of participants come from outside Sampson County. “It’s about helping to get Sampson County out there and on the map. It brings business into Clinton. Money isn’t everything but they (many race participants) will be spending the night here, eating here, bringing business here.”

“Of course, it’s also about promoting health and bringing awareness to health and wellness,” she continued, mentioning that some 225 people participated in last year’s event.

“It’s just such a great day,” said Bradshaw, sharing that in years past she has found inspiration from the older generations who participate, the families that tackle the challenge of the race together, and the wounded warriors from the surrounding military bases who attend.

“It’s a very motivational and humbling event,” she added. “You just feed off the people’s energy and it makes you want to be healthier. I always come away from it so proud and motivated. It’s contagious; it’s hard not to want to do it.”

Although the race is still being planned, information is available and online registration is open now at http://fsseries.com/index.php?action=event&event_id=164.

Lauren Williams can be reached at 910-592-8137, ext. 117 or via email at lwilliams@civitasmedia.com.

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