Friday, September 23, 2011
Deke Copenhaver was running for re- election as mayor of Augusta, Georgia, last year, when he decided to swim and bike along the campaign trail, too.
Copenhaver, who became the first U.S. mayor to complete all three legs of an Ironman-sponsored triathlon in his own city, will be back at it again this year. After finishing the Augusta 70.3 half Ironman race near the back of the pack in 2010, the mayor has a loftier time goal this year.
Copenhaver, 43, will be one of about 3,200 triathletes on the course Sept. 25 in Augusta, a city becoming as well-known among endurance athletes as it is among the thousands of golf fans who attend the Masters Tournament in town every April. The event is sold out, and is expected to be one of only two of the 25 half Ironman races held in the U.S. this year to achieve that, according to Ironman spokeswoman Jessica Weidensall.
“My time wasn’t great, but on the run portion I had to go from athlete to ambassador,” Copenhaver, who completed the race in 6 hours, 56 minutes and 38 seconds, said in a telephone interview. “That’s my excuse. People were yelling ‘mayor, mayor.’ I was shaking hands with everybody. I’m going to wear a visor this year, I think.”