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home > community > viewpoint > what's hapenning in the world of triathlon? an interview with race promoter rich havens

What's Hapenning in the World of Triathlon? An Interview With Race Promoter Rich Havens
To find out what is happening in the world of triathlon, we recently talked with<b> Rich Havens</b>, head of <b>Time-Out Productions</b>, a firm that produces seven races in the Triathlon Tour of New England.

What's Hapenning in the World of Triathlon? An Interview With Race Promoter Rich Havens

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By Don Allison
Posted Saturday, 20 September, 1997

To find out what is happening in the world of triathlon, we recently talked with Rich Havens, head of Time-Out Productions, a firm that produces seven races in the Triathlon Tour of New England. Next year will be the 14th year of the tour. For more information on the 1998 series, call Rich at 508-477-6311 or e-mail

CR: Is the sport of triathlon growing in popularity?

RH: Yes, it seems to be on the upswing. I'm a stats nut, so I look over the numbers for all of my races. We have a " first-timers " division, and at the sprint races, 51% of the field were first-timers. Also, close to a third of our field was women, which bodes well for the future. The influx of first-timers is a great sign; in the late 80s there was an exodus of people from the sport who had had enough and were getting married, became injured, more involved with their jobs, so dropped out of the sport. Another good sign is that the USTS series, which was disbanded in 1991, is coming back.

CR: Are the new "extreme" races taking away some of the glamour from triathlon?

RH: Maybe. My Vermont races was the same day as the Hi-tec adventure race in Connecticut. That drew away some of our runners. Everyone has their favorites; some people like off road triathlons and biathlons.

CR: Are shorter distance triathlons becoming more popular, like in road racing?

RH: Yes. They are achievable by anybody. There are lots of these races and only a few longer ones. It's all supply and demand.

CR: Is the perception that triathletes are a bunch of snobbish high-tech pretty boys unfair?

RH: I never really look at triathletes that way, but all you need to do is scan the parking lot and look at the cars to see that this is an upscale sport. I think there is a nice blend of personalities. You will always have the people with all of the toys, the light wheels and carbon-fiber bike frames.

CR: Are race fees too costly? Is the sport too expensive for the average working guy?

RH: I don't hear a lot of complaining about that, although some laughingly say some races are a "dollar a minute." There was more complaining about the fees in the late 80s. Dave McGillvary wrote an article " What do you get for your 40 bucks?" When I charge 50 dollars for a race, I make sure there is lot of meat in there—T-shirt, full police coverage, good bike security, a complete buffet of food after the race. If people think I'm driving around in a Mercedes, that's just not the case. I'm sitting here today writing out checks for $30,000 in race bills.

CR: Will the 2000 Olympic triathlon give the sport a boost?

RH: If it is hyped up in advance, it might. If there is not much written about it or it is not on TV, probably not. It's all up to the media.

CR: Most New Englanders consider the name Karen Smyers synonymous with triathlon. Are there any other up and coming names out there we should know about?

RH: On the women's side, Donna Kay-Ness, of course. She is a joy to have at my races. She almost always wins, and she extremely polite and gracious. She has a full time job and had gone to Hawaii and done well every time. On the men's side, I'd have to say Travis Keane. He is very confident, very polished. He's a former steeplechase All-American in track. At one of my races, he was behind Paul Barford off the bike, then ran him down and won by a minute. Barford has never been caught on the run that I can remember.

CR: Why should someone who hasn't done so, do a triathlon?

RH: It's a great way to stretch your fitness, a great cross training device. It's another level of challenge that will mix up your training, keep it fresh, and keep you in great shape.



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