Augusta mayor ready to compete in Ironman event

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When Mayor Deke Copenhaver congratulated the athletes in last year's ESi Ironman 70.3 Augusta, his competitive side came out.

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An hourlong meet and greet for ESi Ironman 70.3 Augusta athletes and the media was held Wednesday at The Boathouse. The second annual Ironman competition will be held Sunday.  Corey Perrine/Staff
Corey Perrine/Staff
An hourlong meet and greet for ESi Ironman 70.3 Augusta athletes and the media was held Wednesday at The Boathouse. The second annual Ironman competition will be held Sunday.

On that fall afternoon, Copenhaver told everyone in attendance he would participate in the 2010 event. After five months of training, the 42-year-old Copenhaver is ready.

"I had to back up my word," he said. "At the end of the day, I wanted to see if I can do it."

Copenhaver is one of about 140 Augusta-area competitors in the field for Sunday's second annual ESi Ironman 70.3 Augusta. The event, which features more than 3,100 athletes, is the largest 70.3 triathlon in the world, according to organizer Bill Burke.

Copenhaver and his assistant, Karyn Nixon, are competing for the first time. Since May, Copenhaver has been waking up early for two-hour morning workouts, six days a week. When he hasn't been able to work out in the morning, he's trained after work.

Copenhaver said the hard work has been worth it.

With his entry, Copenhaver is raising funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in support of Brennan Simkins and William Chandler, two local youngsters fighting cancer. Copenhaver, who starts at 8:54 a.m., has a goal of finishing in the six-hour range.

Jeff Snover, chairman and executive director of Champions Made From Adversity, is participating in the event for the second time. He will pair up with Sarah Ethridge (swim) and Naval Chief Petty Officer Joe Oglethorpe (run). They are one of three Para-Triathlon teams in the field.

Snover is a handcyclist with a goal of finishing the 56-mile bike portion in 31/2 hours. Last year, he finished in 4:15.

Snover said the 2009 event motivated him to compete again, and it inspired many people in the area to come out this year.

"It's bringing awareness to folks that you don't have to be a stellar athlete to participate," Snover said. "It's a reason to get fit."

Brittany Banker used last year's event as an idea to keep area athletes fit year-round. Two months after the 2009 ESi Ironman 70.3 Augusta, Banker and a friend formed TriAugusta, a group focused on training for triathlons.

TriAugusta became an officially-sanctioned organization in March by USA Triathlon.

The Augusta-based group has more than 100 members, and about half are planning to compete in Sunday's 70.3 event.

"I like that this year there's more people in the community involved," Banker said.

Comments (27) Add comment
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sjgraci
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sjgraci 09/23/10 - 03:18 am
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Is this like your editorial

Is this like your editorial today chronicle? You know... he swims - we sink, he rides - we get run-over, he runs - we get trampled.

Ole School
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Ole School 09/23/10 - 03:36 am
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Hey Mayor, you do realize

Hey Mayor, you do realize that there is no " middle age class " right ? eerr.. can I have your car if anything happens > ???? LOL

treerock
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treerock 09/23/10 - 06:25 am
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way to take an interest in

way to take an interest in your own health. this is a great way to drive down health care costs.

GiveMeTheScoop
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GiveMeTheScoop 09/24/10 - 02:16 pm
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Hope y'all have great race!

Hope y'all have great race!

CATFISHSTEW
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CATFISHSTEW 09/23/10 - 08:04 am
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Mayor....Don't forget to put

Mayor....Don't forget to put on your lil swimie water wings on before you get into the water.

InChristLove
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InChristLove 09/23/10 - 08:09 am
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Wow, lot of negative

Wow, lot of negative comments. I think this is great and I don't know about being narcissistic or OCD but what an accomplishment just to finish this race. Good Luck to all the athletes.

JackBootedThug
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JackBootedThug 09/23/10 - 08:46 am
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Good luck Deke! I applaud

Good luck Deke! I applaud anyone who even attempts this event, much less finishes it.

ironman mike
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ironman mike 09/23/10 - 08:58 am
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What's with all the negative

What's with all the negative comments?, this event is great for the city and the local participants are to be applauded for getting out there to train and race. I'm betting the "negs" are are coming from people whose workouts consist of up sizing at McDonald's.

GiveMeTheScoop
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GiveMeTheScoop 09/24/10 - 02:17 pm
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Ironman Mike, true

Ironman Mike, true

Your Right
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Your Right 09/23/10 - 09:10 am
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GiveMeTheScoop, you did not

GiveMeTheScoop, you did not need to type that much to tell us that you are not an athlete by any means and that you envy people that are in shape.

joebowles
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joebowles 09/23/10 - 09:20 am
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Ironman Mike, As you and I

Ironman Mike, As you and I know after completing last years Ironman, this is a wonderful stress relief. As for Scoop, the mayor needs stress relief as others. What is wrong with waking up at 5:00am for exercise???? How is that taking away from family time? My wife and children love to sleep in and never knew I was training. Your comments are off base to most people, but I won't say totally inaccurate, because some people don't manage time as well as others.

run4yrlif
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run4yrlif 09/23/10 - 09:25 am
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It's always interesting that

It's always interesting that even when a politician does what by all accounts is a good thing, he or she will get slammed for it by their detractors. So for those of you sniping at Deke about participating in the ESi Ironman 70.3 Augusta, consider the following:

1) He's raising a bunch of money for blood cancer research and patient services; 2) maybe more importantly, he's raising awareness; 3) he's also representing a couple of *very* sick local kids and their families; 4) he's setting a healthy-lifestyle example in a very public way; 5) he's not just promoting an event that is a huge economic impact, he's actually participating.

So what's the downside?

Boogaloo
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Boogaloo 09/23/10 - 10:42 am
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I wish the mayor the best and

I wish the mayor the best and I think he will do quite well. After all, the events are right up his alley. First event, swimming around the issues. Second event, biking through Harrisburg real fast so you don't see what is going on. Third event, running to the camera for a photo-op.

gbhs
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gbhs 09/23/10 - 11:18 am
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Deke is to be commended for

Deke is to be commended for accomplishing what most of you do not have the discipline to do yourselves. How is Deke skirting the issues by participating and training for this?! He trains before and after work, raises money for a great cause and helps promote Augusta's second biggest money maker of the year. I will see you on the course Mr. Mayor!

GiveMeTheScoop
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GiveMeTheScoop 09/24/10 - 02:19 pm
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Great race; go Deke!

Great race; go Deke!

Emerydan
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Emerydan 09/23/10 - 12:51 pm
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I'm glad Deke is able to find

I'm glad Deke is able to find the time and energy to compete in these events (no sarcasm.. really). but I do wish he would put as much effort into being the chief executive officer of Augusta. For instance a bit of leadership from The Mayor on The Patch ordeal could have resolved it. Instead, as usual, Deke takes a hands off approach, avoiding anything like kryptonite that has the tinge of controversy to it. The love affair some have with Deke borders on being a cult of personality than being based on any real political accomplishments by him as mayor.

Emerydan
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Emerydan 09/23/10 - 12:55 pm
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It's just it seems this is

It's just it seems this is the only time we ever hear anything from the mayor. I think this is a great event and he should be applauded for his participation. But it should not be used as a guise for the mayor's penchant for ducking out on important issues facing the city.

countyman
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countyman 09/23/10 - 01:24 pm
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Gbhs... I don't if the

Gbhs... I don't if the Ironman is the second biggest revenue maker. The Westobou I know might raise more money. Since it's so much larger 150-200k vs the Ironman 6,000.

The Ironman may beat out the Arts in the Heart. The Ironman does create more revenue compared to the $2 million Southern Nationals.

Augusta is hosting the 2011 and 2012 US Cycling Championships. The impact is going to be in the millions too. We'll have to wait and see what's the financial impact next year.

Emerydan... If you want to hear about diffrent things from the mayor.. Read his facebook page or go to one of his meetings around the city.

Emerydan
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Emerydan 09/23/10 - 02:22 pm
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OK Mr Mayor, now as soon as

OK Mr Mayor, now as soon as you get out of the water.. you need to show some leadership on this ordeal over The Patch. YOu could have a great impact on this and get this through if you are willing to take a stand.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 09/23/10 - 02:52 pm
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Well, Emerydan, the mayor did

Well, Emerydan, the mayor did say that cooler heads would prevail and the Patch flap would be fixed. Perhaps he's going to take Don Grantham and Geri Sams down to the river for a dunkin’ to cool off their heads.

TakeAHike
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TakeAHike 09/23/10 - 04:18 pm
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I welcome the mayor in

I welcome the mayor in joining us in the fun! It is a major coup for the city to be selected to host the event and reap the economic rewards, especially given the general belief that inhabitants of Augusta are just a backwards and obese lot. The participation by the city's mayor does a lot to mitigate that perception. Outside businesses look for amenities that will attract talent to the area when choosing where to open up shop. A local world-class triathlon and a community of active and educated people is a great example.

I have to comment on the bozo who thinks that training for a half Ironman is going to wreck marriages, children, etc. Are you on crack? Two hours of exercise a day just isn't a plausible cause for scores of failed marriages and neglected children. A selfish husband who decides he wants a younger woman on the other hand...but I digress. Training isn't some huge burden or sacrifice. All you have to do to find time to train for a half Ironman is turn off the TV. It's fun! Use the time you're running and biking to also spend time with your spouse and friends. Setting an example of a healthy active lifestyle for your kids will go a long way in preventing their obesity. I know so many people who train and compete with their spouse and kids and have a blast. It beats watching TV "together". The race is just one day and unless you're a professional athlete, the training is just one of fun things you do in your day to day life. I look forward to getting to go run and ride with someone I love and people I enjoy. Those of you who think participating in a local race is something narcissistic and irrelevant need to get off your duffs and try it. Volunteer this year and plan to join us next year.

Emerydan
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Emerydan 09/23/10 - 04:25 pm
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takeahike.. I agree nothing

takeahike.. I agree nothing negative about The Ironman event at all.. I'm not sure what the problem that earlier poster has.

GiveMeTheScoop
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GiveMeTheScoop 09/24/10 - 02:26 pm
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Think it great people work

Think it great people work out and train together

GiveMeTheScoop
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GiveMeTheScoop 09/24/10 - 02:28 pm
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Glad the race is getting such

Glad the race is getting such publicity. Good thing

Bicycling
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Bicycling 09/24/10 - 06:44 am
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This Ironman has been great

This Ironman has been great for both my wife and I who are in much better shape and as close as ever. Most of my training occurs while she is still sleeping and much of hers occurs while I am still at work, so it takes very little away from our time together. On the weekends, we do much of it together. We have both met a bunch of new people who we are training with who are very positive people who lead healthy lifestyles and are a good influence. I am also influencing my 8yo nephew who is taking an interest in swimming and biking now! I am very glad I am a participant and can only imagine how it is benefitting our Mayor. Go Deke!

reader54
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reader54 09/24/10 - 07:00 am
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Takeahike: Well said. I think

Takeahike: Well said. I think that it is a shame that some folks at 50 yrs. of age can't tie their own shoes b/c they are so tight and out of shape. The human body is designed to work and sweat. IMO, air conditioning is the cause of so many of our physical and emotional illnesses. I love a/c but I am going to get "my sweat on". When your core temp. rises you sweat and release toxins and your brain releases chemicals that regulate mood and energy. I'm no doc but that is my experience with exercise.

OMallen
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OMallen 09/26/10 - 02:20 pm
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Quit griping. This event

Quit griping. This event brought in over 3000 people to Augusta for this weekend. Most got here Friday and won't leave until Monday. Think of the extra revenue for local restaurants and hotels. The fact that the leader of our city is supporting this kind of event is exactly what Augusta needs (in addition to more jobs, better schools, better trained and funded police and enhanced public transportation).

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