USA Triathlon sat down with Marti Greer, the renowned race director for the Buffalo Springs Lake Ironman 70.3, about her involvement in multisport and the evolving roles of women in the business of triathlon.
USA Triathlon (USAT): You've been involved in the sport for a while now. How has women's involvement in the business side of the sport changed during that time?
Marti Greer (MG): It is truly remarkable to me how the presence and leadership of women in the sport of triathlon has grown. When I came into the sport 17 years ago, the number of women that competed in the sport was around 17 percent and the number of women in leadership was even fewer.
Now we see women in strategic, influential leadership positions. Women such as Paula Newby-Fraser, who has shifted from an Ironman World Champion to a management position with World Triathlon Corporation, and Diana Bertsch, the Ironman Kona event director.
Shelley Bramblett also has displayed tremendous leadership in her role as a major event director. In addition, Candy Cheatham and the late Judy Austin have been involved with the USA Triathlon Officiating Program. Candy also served as Council Chair of the USA Triathlon South Midwest Region and is currently a member of the USA Triathlon Board of Directors.
USAT: What is so special about these women?
MG: These women have displayed all of the character traits that elevate a person to the highest degree of excellence within our sport. The traits that stand out the most to me are high ethical standards, honesty, courage, integrity and especially vision and deep passion for triathlon. As I watch the example these women have set for me and others in the sport, I am amazed at what they have accomplished and how it has positively influenced me as an event director in the sport.
USAT: What were the challenges when you started your race series and how are they different today?
MG: That is a really hard question. Our philosophy is to create the most enjoyable event experience possible for the athlete, so I never really thought of anything as a tremendous challenge, just a process I had to work through until I got exactly what I wanted for the athletes. A part of the process that is different today is the social media aspect. It brings on a whole new learning curve in order to give the athletes a great experience prior to, and following, the event.
USAT: Many young women look to role models in sport. What type of foundation has been laid by the female pioneers in our sport and how can women build upon that foundation on the business and leadership side?
MG: A foundation of excellence and integrity is what I feel has been set. Women on the business and leadership sides of the sport are expected to bring that to the table now. There is no doubt that women have won respect. That respect and expectation that they will do a great job will allow women to achieve anything they truly desire and are willing to work for in this sport.