Meet the hardworking people behind Grand Rapids Triathlon and the ones who make race day happen year after year. As we prepare for the debut (and hopefully last) edition of the Grand Rapids Virtual Triathlon 9.5 this June, we celebrate the people who volunteer their time and have made GR Tri one of the best triathlons in the state…. or we like to think in the world!
Name: Todd Bradford
Hometown: Grand Rapids
Occupation: Cement distribution terminal manager
Champion Position: Bike course and MotoPatrol
How you got involved with Grand Rapids Triathlon?
Year two, Ann and Andy realized they needed to have people on motorcycles to carry USAT officials and to monitor the action on the bike course. Since I was one of the few people with a motorcycle Ann knew, she asked me and I agreed. That first year, I had no idea what I was doing but I shuttled around one of the officials and I learned a ton from her. Before the next year’s race, I searched and found a group that does moto patrol for triathlons down South. Based on what I learned from them and the info they shared, I developed the patrol from there.
Have you ever raced Grand Ra[ids Triathlon?
I have done a few bicycle only events.
Do you have a favorite memory at Grand Rapids Triathlon?
Early on, most of the Champions stayed around when the race was done and helped tear everything down and get it packed up. Afterward, we all went and got pizza together. We were all exhausted, but shared this sense of pride over what this race was becoming.
Any race mishaps over the years you like to laugh at now?
A couple of years ago, I was riding the course (on my motorcycle) about 10 minutes ahead of the leader, letting the sheriffs and corner workers know we had bikes on the course. When I got to Ionia County, there were no sheriffs to be found! Turns out there was a man who had murdered his girlfriend and her mother and the cops had tracked him down and had a standoff with him at a house that was on the course! They ended up taking him into custody and were able to get into position on the course just as the leader was coming.
What do you love about triathlon?
I love that it’s hard and people think it is crazy, yet athletes of all shapes, sizes and ages step up to the challenge and push themselves to do it.
What is your favorite thing about Grand Rapids Triathlon?
The champions are almost like a family unit unto themselves. The spirit of dedication and hard work is infectious and inspires me to give my best.
Your perfect post-race meal?
Why should someone still do the Grand Rapids Virtual Triathlon 9.5?
The point of training hard for an event is to push yourself to do better and to achieve. It is a way to be a part of a larger event even when we can’t do it all together.