Triathlon Raises $100,000 for Partners

Things did not look very promising after the first Door County Triathlon in 2005.

“The first year, after all the bills were paid, there wasn’t even enough money left with the limited participation to pay me or the charities,” said Director Sean Ryan. “There was second-guessing by people involved with the event and the charities, wondering, should we really stick with this? I kind of had to play the role of cheerleader to keep everyone involved.”

There are 18 Door County organizations that are glad Ryan persevered. On Nov. 20, Ryan announced that $100,000 raised at the 10th triathlon this year is going to 18 Door County organizations.

“We had a great year. We’re really happy that we had such a positive outcome for the charities this year,” Ryan said in making the announcement.

The two main beneficiaries are the Door County YMCA and the Door County parks system, which each received $40,000. The Door County Silent Sports Alliance received $2,500. The Boys & Girls Club of Door County and the Sturgeon Bay School District each received $2,000. The Bay Shore Property Owners Association, Egg Harbor Fire Department, Egg Harbor Historical Society, Egg Harbor Lions Club, Gridiron Club, P.A.T.H. and the Southern Door School district received $1,000. American Folklore Theatre, Door County Community Foundation, American Red Cross, Maggie DeMeuse, Sevastopol Band and Sturgeon Bay Jaycees received $500 checks.

“Our partners for the event are the Door County Y and the Door County Parks system. They both play critical roles,” Ryan said. “The Y assists us with several of the planning aspects of the event and they provide a facility for us for our volunteer meeting and some other activities. Of course without the Parks Department, there would be no facility for the event itself, with Murphy Park. So it’s important we make it worthwhile for both of those organizations.”

Ryan said in the early years of the event, the Y and the county Parks Dept. were the only two organizations involved.

“As the scale of the event grew and we needed additional assistance, then we started bringing in other organizations like the Sturgeon Bay School District, American Folklore Theatre,” Ryan said. “Without their involvement, we wouldn’t be able to produce the event. It’s so hard to recruit volunteers in Door County at that time of year. It’s nice to see the event paying off for them as well and justifying their involvement.”

Ryan said he always believed the Door County Triathlon would become one of the most popular, if not the most popular, events of its kind in the Midwest.

“My background is on the athlete side. I started out in endurance sports as a triathlon participant going back 20 years ago to the early ’90s,” he said. “I had done a lot of events like this. I have a feel for what appeals to the athletes, what makes for a good venue, what amenities are going to be appeal to them. And when I looked at the amenities that Door County had to offer and the course design and the venue at Murphy Park, I knew that we had the makings for a five-star event.”

“The crazy thing about this event,” Ryan continued, “this event sells out faster than the half-Ironman branded event that is on the same weekend, taking place down in Racine. I look at that and I think, to be able to say you’re more popular than Ironman, not a lot of events can say they outsell Ironman. For everybody involved, myself, our staff, our charities, it makes all those lean years early on seem worthwhile.”

The 2015 Door County Triathlon takes place on July 18 & 19. See for details.

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