Directors Corner w/ UC Davis Tri's Michael Brooks

UC Davis Aggiethlon Race Director

    Michael Brooks
      Event Date
      Sunday, October 23, 2016 
        Event Website
            RM:  What was the first year of your event?

            MB:  2007
              RM:  How long have you been the Race Director?
              MB:  First year as lead, second year as a race director, third year working with medical
                  RM:  What’s your competitive background?
MB:  In high school, I played water polo and swam during the off seasons. I started lifeguarding open water for the local park district sophomore year and started racing triathlon after lifeguarding these strange events where people chose to wake up too early and exercise too much. One race in and I was hooked, racing three races in a bit over a month. During the Fall of my high school senior year, I chose to compete in both water polo and cross country for triathlon training. This was by far the hardest time decision I’ve ever made and yet I would do it again because I loved every minute. Among other successes, I managed to run out of room on my letterman jacket. I chose UC Davis in part for their triathlon team’s reputation and largely due to the popularity of bikes and biking. Ever since, I’ve been doing that triathlon thing during the school year and competing in National level lifesaving sport during the summers.
                    RM:  When/how did you get into Race Directing?

                    MB:  I helped out several charity runs and their race directors by providing free race medical, getting my feet wet with race directing. I have worked for a private race medical company as an EMT/Lifeguard for four years now and work 10-15 races each year. This introduced me to several professional race directors and many will now pay me to come in earlier and help with race setup, etc. As the UC Davis Aggieathlon race director this year, I have utilized several of these connections to develop the best possible race. You may notice that one of my pictures features Bob Anderson, the founder of Runner's World Magazines. I've run with him at several races now and we occasionally keep in touch.
                      RM:  Tell us the history of your event? How did it come into being?

                      MB:  The UC Davis Triathlon team decided to host a race way back in 2007 and our race has changed almost every year since then due to permit and cost issues. The race will draw collegiate competitors from across the state alongside age group competitors from the larger Davis community. There will be some of the best athletes in the Nation competing alongside first time, beginner triathletes.
                        RM:  Describe your race, what is the course like? Are there unique points along the way? Has the course changed over the years?

                        MB:  The swim course will be unique, taking place in our NCAA pool. In late October, this also means that it will have warm water and won’t require (or even allow) a wetsuit. Davis is pancake-flat, as is our bike course. Our team will occasionally ride repeats up and down freeway overpasses for hill training. The run course will be lined with spectators as you run around our recently renovated football stadium. Our course and race location has changed more than it has stayed constant, so come be a part of what should soon become a UCD Triathlon tradition.
                          RM:  How many racers do you expect on race day?

                          MB:  I hope to see somewhere around 300 racers on race morning. After last year’s permit was pulled by the police department with only three weeks to go, we are unfortunately suffering from a minor lack of confidence from our racers. I understand, I went through it as well. That said, we are ready to accommodate 400 racers or even more, so invite your friends and colleagues!
                            RM:  Describe the typical participant of your race? Do you have a professional field at your race?

                            MB:  Our typical participant is the very opposite of typical. We may very well have the future collegiate National champion at our event. I also guarantee that we will have first time, beginner triathletes. And that’s the best part! As a beginner triathlete, sign up! You won’t regret it. We will also host some of the only high school teams in the nation.
                              RM:  Does your event support any charities or non-profit making organizations? If so, discuss how your relationship with them came about.

                              MB:  The UC Davis Triathlon Team!!! Personally, I think its the best organization out there. That said, I may be a bit biased. Your participation helps out poor college students as we tri to afford both textbooks and race wheels when we only have enough money for race wheels (really mom, I mean textbooks..). Just in case, I’ll leave this here:

                              RM:  What is unique about your event? Location? Theme? Nature?

                              MB:  Our event will be hosted on campus for the first time in several years. Especially at Davis, where cars are not allowed onto much of campus, this is a rare opportunity to see our beautiful school. And what better way then from a bike or while running?
                                RM:  Local knowledge: Are there any great parts of your race or surrounding area that you would suggest people visit while they are here for the event?

                                MB:  Just past the run turnaround is one of the freshman housing locations. Between the run course and this housing, there is a large number of Dairy cows. I highly suggest taking a warm up run over to the cows or walking over post race for a photo opportunity. Not too many college campuses have cows in a location where you can get up close and personal.
                                    RM:  Prizes? Swag? Sponsors? What should the racers expect?

                                    MB:  Prizes will be given out to the top racer in each category. I can almost promise you that it will somehow relate to cows, because Davis. More importantly, we will have a celebrity on site. Her name is Simone and she is the 2016-2017 triathlon president at Davis. She’ll be there, will you? Autographs, pictures, you name it: they all come with your racer or volunteer registration.
                                      RM:  How has the evolution of the sport evolved and affected your event?

                                      MB:  We are just out here doing our triathlon thing and continuing to improve our National ranking as a team (11th and counting!). If anything, the largest change has been the school’s financial support dwindling as our team tries to find new ways to make money. Would anyone be interested in a post race car wash!?
                                        RM:  We don't want to get too negative, but what’s your biggest headache as a race director?

                                        MB:  In theory, my first priority as our race director is school and academics. Studying biomedical engineering is a time commitment on its own and the goal is 18-20 hours of training a week. Back to the hardest part: the hardest part is sleeping enough while also keeping on top of the race (and everything else).
                                          RM:  Besides this race. Do you have a dream race you want to create? Please share!

                                          MB:  I don’t know if I will ever personally lead another race effort (if I do, I better personally make money the third time around). What I would really like to see and have worked hard to make a reality is to keep the Aggieathlon consistently on campus and with the same or a very similar course. This is what our team needs to make it a successful fundraiser year after year. I do, however, plan to volunteer as the medical lead for years to come (as I have the past two years).
                                              RM:  Any last thoughts or shout outs?

                                              MB:  I’d like to give a shout out to my family, our sponsors (, and my three additional race directors—Evan, Moses, and Arin.
                                                You all help me accomplish my goals and this race would not be possible without you.
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