Consider Chad and Candace Kimbrell veterans of the Ironman 70.3 Augusta scene.
In fact, others will be relying on Chad’s knowledge to get them through the grueling course.
The two are accomplished triathletes. Candace has competed in four Ironman Augusta events, among many more races, while Chad has finished three of the Augusta competitions and several others.
Chad will be on the sidelines Sunday for the ninth annual Ironman 70.3 Augusta as a coach of two competing athletes. Candace entered the year with hopes of competing in the Augusta event, but a broken toe means it’ll be a last-minute decision.
Regardless of whether Candace competes, the two have already impacted the event for another year by having an influence on the area triathlete scene. The Aiken natives have a firm grasp of the course and what it means to the area.
“Of all the races I’ve done, it’s my favorite because it is home,” Candace said. “All the people from TriAugusta participating, they’re friends now. Our Tri Coach Georgia team is here. It’s a big family. It’s so much support, one, and then you have all your friends you’re racing with.”
The two are involved in TriAugusta, a group of more than 200 athletes who train for various events, such as triathlons and cycling races. Chad was previously the president of the group and remains a major supporter while coaching for Tri Coach Georgia.
“I’ve always liked helping people out, so I went and got certified with (USA Triathlon) and USA Cycling,” Chad said. “I love helping people out and it kind of fell right into place. You get out, you can ride with your athletes, you can swim with your athletes, you can run with them. It makes for a good combination.”
Chad said many are unaware of how strong the competition is within the Augusta area, so much that those who compete in Ironman Augusta often become members of TriAugusta because of the welcome they receive from locals. The annual Ironman event, considered one of the largest in the world, is another reason for the area’s success in developing triathletes.
“It’s not just Augusta,” Chad said. “We have Aiken, Augusta, Grovetown, Evans, Martinez. We have members from all over the world, not just the U.S., because they come here for the race and there’s so much southern hospitality, people know TriAugusta.”
The latest reminder of Ironman’s impact is occurring this weekend, capped by Sunday’s main event. The competition again sold out quickly and has more than 3,500 registered athletes.
When Chad stands along the streets of downtown, he’ll do so while cheering on his own athletes. Don’t be surprised to see some waving to each other as they compete because many are members of TriAugusta and will be rooting each other to the finish.
“There’s over a 100 of your friends participating, so you’re always seeing someone you know on the course,” Chad said. “It’s a lot of fun because you’re always hearing support. You’ve got a lot more support to keep you going.”
Reach David Lee at (706) 823-3216 or firstname.lastname@example.org.