News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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May 18, 2013

TILL IT'S OVER: Terre Haute Triathlon's new race director seeks more events for his hometown

Thunder in the Valley is today at Hawthorn Park

TERRE HAUTE — Today is the day for the Thunder in the Valley, and the Terre Haute Triathlon is under new leadership in 2013, the 28th year for the event at Hawthorn Park.

A former Terre Haute North track and cross country standout, Ethan Page is the race director as the race falls under the reign of Page’s new company Crossroads Events.

The 22-year-old graduate of the Indiana University Kelley School of Business with a degree in entrepreneurship has been doing triathlons for several years.

Page is expecting a final competitor list of more than 200 racers — or on par with recent races. Among the competitors will be two-time defending men’s winner Nick Waninger.

Waninger finished the course — a 800-meter swim, 40-kilometer (24.9 mile) bike and 10-kilometer run — in one hour, 36 minutes and 30 seconds last year, which is the second fastest time in the event’s history.

 Kirk Nelson, a professional competitor and triathlon coach based in Colorado, holds the record with a time of 1:34.24.

The Terre Haute native hopes to continue to put his personal touch on the event.

“In the future, I’d like to attract sponsors. You can really spruce up the race. Can make it more professional, give extra stuff, nicer awards,” Page said.

The IU grad also has a race coming up at Lincoln State Park near Santa Claus. That race is June 8 and two distances are available. The sprint distance race, which will start at 8 a.m., will be a 400-meter swim, 10-mile bike and 3-mile run. The other race, which is a modified Olympic distance like Terre Haute, has an 800-meter swim, 40K bike and 10K run that will begin at 8:45 a.m.

Page is looking to bring more events to Terre Haute. With the fitness industry growing in different ways all the time, Page wants to bring people to his hometown for cycling, running races — or even adventure racing.

“I’d love to bring some cycling races to Terre Haute. There’s road racing or a criterium,” Page said. “We have some excellent cyclists in Terre Haute and we can attract others from around the state and the Midwest.”

Terre Haute was home to the Crossroads Criterium, a downtown cycling race, for several years around 2006. Page would like to do something similar.

“The Morris Trucking Company use to put it on, it was popular for a while. That’s another example, they’re great, but kind of did it on the side,” Page said. “I didn’t realize how much work it is to put on an event. It really has to be a full-time job. They did a good job, just didn’t have enough time to grow it and make it better. I think it would be cool to involve the downtown area, highlight our old buildings like the Sycamore Building and the Hulman Building. Can fill up those downtown restaurants. It would be cool to do something with ISU. Work in the stadium somehow.”

Also, 5K races are popular with many organizations as fundraisers. Page would like to offer his services as an event manager to help events attract participants.

“People aren’t going to come back if it’s not doing well. You pay off what your event manager does in the results I’ll provide,” Page said. “I’m hoping to bring a lot of cool and different 5Ks. There’s some that are getting popular. I’ve got some ideas for that.  People aren’t going to come back if it’s not doing well. You pay off what your event manager does.”

Page mentioned that more than half the registered participants in the Terre Haute Triathlon today are from out of state. He’d like to add a few more events like this to bring visitors to the city.

“Another big goal of mine is to enrich the community of Terre Haute. I’d like to bring more events to Terre Haute to bring more business in to the city,” he said.

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