Thursday, July 29, 2010

Banquets and Next Year's Race

The Monday after the Ironman race is always an adventure. People who aspire to race in next year's Ironman Lake Placid begin lining up at midnight or so. One group slept in an 8-person tent in line to sign up. Pretty good thinking, I guess.

Our team of volunteers helped the mass of people (1000? more?) get registered. We operated 15+ computers and assisted the Ironman staff with the registration process. To decide who was best suited for the job I said to folks from our church and from the mission teams: "If you are good at shopping online, you can do this job very well." To which one lady said, "I'm going to go home right now and start practicing!"

Next year's registration started at 9:00 AM, and was over a little after 1:00 PM. At noon EDT online registration began. By the time we were done, the race for next year was sold out. It's a very popular race.

Monday morning also is when folks view and purchase their race photos, get signed up for the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii if they qualified, enjoy the Awards Banquet for lunch, and more. And, it gave our team a good opportunity to say goodbye or "see ya next year" to friends that we have met. At the Awards Banquet my friend David Hall, pastor of Oak Grove Baptist Church (MD) gave the invocation and NCM/LPBC's own Lisa Smith sang the national anthem.

After the Awards Banquet, there were a few odds and ends to be done. After that, it was time to rest for a bit. Later, our family had dinner with the team from Oak Grove.

On Tuesday, the church needed to be cleaned up a bit because another mission team was on the way. Traveling from SC, Rock Spring Baptist Church arrived just in time to attend the Volunteers Banquet and then provided the man-power to help us clean up the 1000+ chairs and 200+ tables that needed to be loaded on the tractor trailer. They were just the shot of adrenaline that we needed. We wrapped up the banquet clean-up in record time. The Lord knew what He was doing by sending them to us on Tuesday. They will be doing ministry in E-town, along hiking trails, at the Mirror Lake beach, and at Uihlein Nursing home this week.

At the Volunteer Banquet, my friend Perry Fowler, pastor of Kennesaw (GA) First Baptist Church gave the invocation and Jeff Gray from NCM/LPBC sang the national anthem.

Some of the highlights of the banquet included:
  • Really good food (five food stations, great desserts, coffee and more)
  • Deserving aid stations and other volunteer areas were recognized for their great work before, during and after the race
  • Local athletes were recognized and applauded
  • Race Director Jeff Edwards, Volunteer Captain Coordinator Kathy Pfohl and other local dignitaries spoke and expressed their thoughts on the race
  • Some of our NCM team won some of the giveaways as numbers were drawn from a box
  • Aid Station of the Year: Bike Aid Station #2 Keene (led by NCM's own John & Karen Ferrara)
  • Captain of the Year: Cora Clark
  • Captain of the Year: Derek Spain
  • The 2010 Ironman Lake Placid highlight video was shown
It was surprising that they gave two Captain of the Year awards this year. I was really humbled to receive one of them. Ours was truly a team effort. I feel like a coach whose team wins the championship and then he gets the award for coach of the year. Without the incredible North Country Ministries team, I would have never gotten the award. I'm humbled and grateful.

The award of Captain of the Year means that my wife Kim and I now will have the opportunity to travel to another Ironman race in North America to enjoy the race and meet wonderful people there. Perhaps we will be able to connect with a local church there too and get them connected to Ironman in their area. We have a few to choose from, so we will look at the calendar, consider our options, pray, and make a wise decision. Kim and I love to travel.

Ironman, see ya next year!

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