Saturday, April 15, 2017

St. George Races: Interview with Aaron Metler

Last weekend, Utah Tri Buzz contributor Christopher White traveled to St. George to compete in the Sand Hollow Aquatic Center Triathlon (or SHAC Tri). SHAC has a sprint race, a beginner race and a kid’s triathlon. While there he caught up with Aaron Metler, race director for SHAC and St. George Races for an interview.

How many events does St. George Races do every year?

We do fourteen races a year. We do Lake to Lake Relay, team relays, triathlons, kids races, Fourth of July races. We help the Senior Games, we help out with the St. George Marathon, we help out with Ironman, we try to help out everything in the community.

Specifically what triathlons do you put on?

We do a race in October called the Trick or Tri, one in April called the SHAC Tri and the Road Rage Duathlon in February. 

How long has the SHAC Triathlon been running?

I’ve been here nine years and I’ve done it all nine years. They did it three years before that so about 12 years.

What is your favorite part of being a race director?

I just love seeing people achieve their goals and come through the finish line. Even just beginners. Especially SHAC you see families come out together, the parents doing the sprint, somebody doing the beginner, the kids doing the kids race, bringing the whole family together. Having it all oriented around fitness, I think it’s amazing. It’s cool to see that happen here in beautiful St. George.

What do you do yourself? Do you run, do triathlon?

Yeah, of course, if you’re going to work in this kind of industry you have to do something and be a crazy athlete yourself. I do running but I envy the triathletes who do swimming biking and running. I can just do one of them. I do run, I do marathons and like to train that way.

Ever do a triathlon yourself?

No triathlons yet (raucous laughter from both of us). I have to learn to swim better and bike better.

What is the most inspirational story you have heard as a race director?

There’s been a ton. When you do 14 races a year for nine years you see a lot of inspirational stories. In the SHAC tri, we had a special needs athlete who couldn’t run but his dad pulled in a boat in the pool, pushed him in a wheelchair in the bike and same thing for the run. Stuff like that is inspirational to see. People of all abilities out there trying to finish and trying to be a part of everything. We love supporting that and having that here at our events. That and many other inspirational stories. The average every day athlete coming out and competing is a sensational accomplishment we think. We give finisher medals to everybody for that reason.

Last question, the bulk of triathletes in Utah live up on the Wasatch Front. Why should they come down to St George to do your races?

It’s beautiful here. We have the weather. In October we do our triathlon, Salt Lake is getting snow, usually, even in April. It’s a great weekend road trip. I feel like we can offer something unique with the red rock and the scenery and the great weather. It’s a fun experience to get out of town a little bit. Salt Lake to St. George is not long enough for really traveling but you still get a vacation feel. It’s kind of a fun road trip. Actually most of our racers, about 75% are from up north.

Thanks, Aaron for the interview and for the great race.

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