As we pointed out in our story yesterday, the Ironman event in Lake Placid is the second-oldest Ironman race on mainland North America (behind Ironman Canada) and has long been one of the most popular Ironman races in the world.
After we printed that story, we heard from the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism (ROOST), who provided us with this release that outlines many of the things Ironman is doing to try and address the issues that have been raised by the Lake Placid Ironman Task Force Committee.
You can read the full release below, but here are a few of the highlights:
“Athletes love the Lake Placid event. In fact, this is my third time competing here because I love the course, the region, the volunteers, and the Lake Placid Ironfans” says Jodi Plante (pictured above), who has competed at Ironman races across the United States. “I have received a great deal of information about the upcoming race from Ironman and from discussions with my local tri club. We have been having ongoing conversations about safety, following the rules of the road and being respectful of the environment and local communities. I’m glad that Ironman officials are reinforcing these concepts with race participants.”
Ironman has developed an athlete code of conduct – “Train Like a Champion, Act Like a Champion” which encourages athletes to “remain conscious of their role as ambassadors for the sport and the Ironman organization.
Ironman has enhanced communication to athletes, their family members and supporters
Ironman has worked with the region to develop an Athlete Guide to Lake Placid
Ironman Lake Placid has established a community relations coordinator and race-day hotline
In a poll done last year to residents of the region, 41 per cent of the respondents were opposed to the Ironman in Lake Placid, while 49 per cent were in favour of the race. Those numbers were pretty much the same for business owners.
Those who have a seen the race at some point are very much in favour of it continuing – 92 per cent of those polled who had competed in an Ironman event were in favour of the event, as were 58 per cent of those who had volunteered and 57 per cent of those who had spectated.
Ironman Lake Placid Implements Task Force Committee Recommendations
Lake Placid, NY (July 18, 2022) – Recommendations made by the Ironman task force committee have been embraced and implemented by Ironman race organizers ahead of the July 24 race in Lake Placid.
Many of the committee’s recommendations have been implemented by Ironman organizers including improved communication with athletes and their supporters, enhanced expectations of its athlete participants and fans, sharing information about communities along the Ironman route for participants, mitigation of training and race day issues, and improved logistics.
New for 2022 is the development of an athlete code of conduct. Entitled “Train Like A Champion, Act Like A Champion,” it encourages Ironman participants to remain conscious of their role as ambassadors for the sport and the Ironman organization while respecting the Adirondacks by reducing their personal impact on the region. It also shares expectations regarding athletes’ adherence to professional conduct before, during and after their participation in the event. The code of conduct is available on the Ironman Lake Placid website; it has been shared with athletes ahead of the race through multiple email and social media posts; it will also be communicated during the athlete briefings during the week leading up to the event. Currently this code of conduct is exclusive to the Lake Placid Ironman event.
Ironman has enhanced its pre-race communication with athletes, their family members and supporters through ongoing email communication, on its social media channels and on the Ironman Lake Placid web page. These messages communicate expectations of Ironman athletes, the responsibility they have for helping to care for the local environment and the importance of being an ambassador for their sport. Ironman officials have shared a great deal of information with athletes training in the Lake Placid region ahead of the event, and triathlon clubs with members who participate in Ironman.
According to Jodi Plante, who has competed in a number of Ironman events across the US, athletes are appreciative of the effort undertaken by the Lake Placid region and Ironman to enhance community support for this event. “Athletes love the Lake Placid event. In fact, this is my third time competing here because I love the course, the region, the volunteers, and the Lake Placid Ironfans” she said. “I have received a great deal of information about the upcoming race from Ironman and from discussions with my local tri club. We have been having ongoing conversations about safety, following the rules of the road and being respectful of the environment and local communities. I’m glad that Ironman officials are reinforcing these concepts with race participants.”
The Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism has also offered its support to ensure that important messages are communicated to athletes and their supporters. Ironman worked with the local organization to develop the Athlete Guide to Lake Placid; a printed and folded document that provides a map, the code of conduct, QR codes for emergency resources and background information about communities along the Ironman Lake Placid route. The Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism also developed informational rack cards for distribution throughout the region that refer to the importance of sharing the road – targeted to those on bikes and in cars.
Enhanced communication from the Ironman organization to athletes has also included information about communities and local attractions within the region, showcasing it as a travel destination, apart from the Ironman event. Local towns and attractions have also been invited to become an exhibitor in the Ironman village, where race participants pick up their information packets, purchase Ironman gear, visit race sponsors, meet with their triathlon club members and shop for last-minute items.
According to Mary Jane Lawrence, COO at the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism and Ironman task force committee member, these efforts will provide a more positive experience for local residents and athletes. “Ironman Lake Placid is an event that benefits the region through positive economic impact and exposure of our region on a national and international level,” she said. “We are pleased that Ironman appreciates our region’s concerns and has worked hard to implement meaningful changes. Ironman has involved our local communities in the planning and the information shared.”
Ironman Lake Placid has established a community relations coordinator to assist with training and race related issues. The community relations coordinator is able to assist with quickly mitigating challenges for community members and businesses as they arise – both ahead of the event and on race day. A race day hotline has been established and there is a dedicated email address that businesses and local residents can use if issues present (615-669-0022; firstname.lastname@example.org).
Plante encourages her fellow competitors to enjoy the day and be “good guests and representatives” in the Adirondacks. She also hopes that drivers know that the vast majority of athletes are obeying the rules of the road, while also asking for a bit of patience from drivers. “I firmly believe that Lake Placid Ironman participants need to be respectful sportsmen, responsible with our care of this beautiful environment and safe when occupying the roads. I also hope that drivers understand that if I am not riding at the shoulder of the road while on my bike, it is most likely because I am avoiding an obstacle. There are some places along the route that I am also going 50 miles per hour, without the protection that an automobile offers. I always do my best to obey the rules of the road, and I will encourage my fellow athletes to do the same, since state law states that motorists and cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities. My wish is that drivers and cyclists can both be safe, understanding, and kind to each other. Athletes love competing in Lake Placid and we really hope that local residents don’t mind having us share their roads for a little while.”
The Ironman task force committee was established in 2020 to assess community sentiment, determine the event’s viability and make recommendations to help ensure that the event is more favorable for locals and regional residents. The Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism established the Ironman task force committee; and was responsible for conducting a survey of businesses and residents to gather information about positive impacts, along with challenges associated with hosting the Ironman event.
According to Lawrence, the Ironman task force committee and Ironman officials will review and assess the impact of this year’s changes. “Improvement is a continual process of assessment and refinement,” she said. “We may consider additional recommendations, or altering some of the changes made this year as we have additional information from athletes, volunteers, businesses and community officials.”
The Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism is the destination marketing and management organization for Hamilton and Essex counties, along with the communities of Tupper Lake and Saranac Lake, all located within the Adirondacks in New York state. ROOST is also a Community Member of the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics. Full survey results and information about the Ironman task force committee can be found on the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism’s website.