In 2004, a combination of ideas and people led me to spearhead the creation of Blue Hills Adventures, an event management business. We organized triathlons (swim, bike, run), duathlons (run, bike, run), and adventure races (kayaking, mountain-biking, trail running, orienteering, stupid puzzle solving). One of the more successful events was created by a small group of my friends and contacts after someone (suggested that we explore creating a women’s triathlon in Kansas City.
Through all of the stages of planning, I made a point to include as many people as possible. While my company “owned” the race (and we were theoretically a for-profit business) I tried to develop broad ownership and involvement.
The first year, the race was named after a wonderful women’s shelter in Kansas City. My intent was to continue our relationship and become a major source of awareness and funding. After the inaugural race (with around 225 participants and 100 first-timers) the administration of the shelter decided that it wasn’t worth the investment or commitment and they pulled out.
Undaunted, the organizing team refocused and pulled off another very successful event the second year (350 participants, 180 first-timers) with proceeds benefitting WIN for KC, a program of the Kansas City Sports Commission that supports girls and women’s sports. WIN for KC was great to work with and they caught the vision and saw the potential. They asked to be more involved and wanted the race in their name.
I didn’t hesitate. If they would agree to retain me as the race director, I’d give them the race. And that’s what happened. The third year, we had over 500 participants and 250 first-timers. It had turned in to a truly remarkable event that touched the lives of volunteers and participants alike.
Before the fourth year, I had to step aside and turn it entirely over to WIN for KC and their team of wonderfully organized and committed staff and volunteers. Regretfully, I wasn’t even able to attend the race. I heard they sold out months in advance and had over 800 participants. It’s now known in the Midwest as one of the best-organized and run triathlons of any kind, let alone among women-only events.
It’s easy to get caught up in wanting more and more money and more and more things. But things and money don’t really matter. I really like a photo I saw recently on Derek Sivers blog. It said: The important things in life are not things.
I guess I’m a generous person. My family and I support many causes, especially those with which we are personally involved (arts, schools, theatre, music, etc.). I’m proud that an idea I helped nurture and develop has turned out so successful. That’s enough for me because in reality I have enough. Once you truly believe that, you can make a difference.