Behind the race: ASU and USA Triathlon team up to host National Championships

ASU hosted the 2017 Women's Collegiate Triathlon National Championship on Sunday in Tempe

The 2017 Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championship was held on Sunday in Tempe. The event was hosted at Tempe Town Lake where many other triathlons have been held in the past.  

ASU’s triathlon team took the title, which earned them their second consecutive championship. 

“ASU’s just been a huge cheerleader in the sport of triathlon, and I think Tempe is an ideal location to produce a triathlon,” race director Casey Brown said. 

Due to Tempe’s weather and mostly flat ground, it provides ideal race conditions for the athletes. 

Another benefit is the central location of Tempe Town Lake. The lake is in an area where there are many hotels, restaurants and entertainment options nearby.  

The event hosted three different races starting at 5:30 a.m., a men’s age group race, a women’s age group race and then the Women’s Collegiate National Championship race. 

In the collegiate race, there were 81 athletes, which consisted of 11 varsity programs, and 10 club teams. The logistics of the race called for a large place to host the event. 

“The course was set up with those multiple laps to make it spectator friendly,” Caryn Maconi, communications manager at USA Triathlon, said. 

When the bid to host the event was accepted in early April, ASU and others began the planning process. The process then ramped up when Brown was brought on by ASU in early spring. 

Many people played a role in the logistics of the event and making sure it ran smoothly. 

“It was executed really well, from everything from the course setup to the number of spectators that were out there,” Maconi said. “I was really pleased with how many people were lining the course, whether that’s parents and friends, or people that competed in the age group race earlier that morning.”

To put on an event this large, it would cost around $65,000 to $110,000. This money is paid through sponsorships, registration fees for athletes and funding from the city and ASU. 

Some of those sponsorships are from Pedal Haus, American Airlines, Paramount Productions and other smaller vendors. 

To put on this event, USA Triathlon and ASU had to work with the city of Tempe. 

“We had to get the event approved by them (City of Tempe) back when we were first submitting the bid to USA Triathlon,” Nicole Welling (Truxes), with ASU Triathlon Operations, said. 

Tempe’s events department has to contact local businesses to let them know when they will be closing down streets by their businesses. 

Since Tempe has hosted many triathlons before, they already had an idea of where exactly they wanted the bike course to be closed off to motorists. 

The bike portion of the race was a 20K and consisted of three laps along North Mill Avenue, West Rio Salado Parkway, East Curry Road and College Avenue. 

“They have the fire department and the police all sign off on our course, and they’ll all be there the day of to make sure everything runs safely and smoothly,” Welling (Truxes) said. 

Reach the reporter at or follow @CCydeni on Twitter.

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