Ever wondered about the beginning stages of Rev3Tri, or how the races keep growing with participation and enthusiasm? It all starts at the top. And at the top of Rev3 you’ll find our beloved Race Director, Eric Opdyke.
“EO” took a few minutes from his busy schedule to talk a little Rev3 shop with us.
Eric.Opdyke. Known to the public as the Race Director for Rev3 races, or the “tall bald guy”. Known to the staff as the proverbial man behind the curtain because you do so much without getting any of the credit. In fact, you often push the limelight away from yourself and shine it onto others.
The Rev3 Staff is deeply loyal to you – do you think this is partly why? Because you’re so good to us?
Thanks Carole. I don’t seek credit from anyone. You will never find me with my finger on the starting airhorn or at the finish line holding the finish line tape. I wouldn’t be effective if I
sought to be in the limelight. My job is to troubleshoot, put out “fires”, and fill holes where needed. My satisfaction comes from knowing that athletes that do Rev3 races are safe and enjoy the Rev3 experience. I know we can’t please everyone but I’m content when I realize we’ve done the best job we can. There is always room for improvement and I constantly strive to keep improving on our mistakes and raising the bar to keep providing a better race experience for our customers. We have a great team and just because my title is “Race Director” I’m not doing anymore than anyone else on our team. We all work so hard that we can appreciate each other’s efforts to create the common goal of providing the best experience to our athletes that we can. We often refer to each other as family because come race week, we are in the trenches with each other, blood, sweat, and tears and feel like family.
How did you first get into Race Directing? What drew you to want to organize and run events?
After one year in the sport as an athlete, I wanted to give back and be on the other side. I volunteered to be on a local race committee and quickly took a liking to it and felt very comfortable on the other side. The next year I became the Race Director of that local event and directed that event for 6 years. I started working with Charlie (Rev3 owner) about 6 months before our very first event in Connecticut and became attracted to his vision of Rev3 right away. We continue to reminisce about that first race and are amazed how we pulled that first race off. We’ve never worked so hard in our lives as we did that first race weekend.
Rev3 Costa Rica will be more than 25 races that you have directed for Rev3. Going into this brand new season, what are some things you have you learned from the experience of directing these previous races that you hope to apply this season?
I learn so much from each and every race. I do my best to get feedback from each staff member and as many athletes as possible so we can continue to improve. This season will be another big challenge for us as we added four new races, more than ever before (Wisconsin Dells, Old Orchard Beach, Half/Full, and Florida). Our challenge will be to keep up positive momentum on our existing races while providing the necessary planning and development of these new races. We want to keep attracting new customers while retaining the ones we have gained.
Rev3 has added some great venues this season. Can you tell us a little about how you select the venues?
Our number one selection criteria is to keep with the Rev3 mission of providing family friendly environments for our athletes and their families. We want to be a more national brand and provide more choices for athletes from all over the country. There are too many factors to list here (and we can’t give our competitors all of our secrets J) but in general we have to have really good community support and make sure our athletes can get there and they will like it.
You’re a triathlete in your own right and you’ve competed in all the distances. Do you think this experience aids trying to direct a race?
No doubt about it. I couldn’t nearly be as effective without having this athlete knowledge. I put myself in my athlete shoes every time I make a decision. My business shoes have a big say too.
What was your life like before Rev3? You were an athlete in college. Steeplechase, right? :) Just kidding.
Before Rev3, I was working as a full-time licensed massage therapist in my own private practice as well as a business and marketing consultant. I have always been competitive in a variety of sports growing up, but I became a hammer thrower in High School and went on to become the top hammer thrower in the country and earned a full scholarship to Syracuse University. My dream was to compete in the Olympics so I trained with some of our Olympic throwers and the US Olympic coach. Through a series of nagging injuries and unfortunate circumstances, I gave up on that dream. I started my career after college and slowly became fat and out of shape so I started running to lose weight. I ran a bunch of marathons and discovered triathlon which brought me into the sport.
Rev3 events are gaining popularity and momentum like a snowball going downhill. People praise the events as being very athlete focused and family friendly. Age groupers commonly say they felt like they were treated like one of the Professionals. People say we care. How does this make you feel when you hear these things?
I think “mission accomplished”. We strive to make every athlete feel special and like the “professional” that they are. Our goal is to treat everyone equally, whether they hold a Professional license or they are the last place finisher. They are no different in our eyes. Rev3 races are for everyone.
Give us some off-the-record scoop from the man who knows all. Give us a little nugget. Are there any changes this season, or anything Rev3 is doing a little differently that some of us may not know?
We’re working on some cool new stuff right now……here are some teasers:
- Another 140.6 race in 2013 (I know that’s not this season but we’re working on it now)
- A revolutionary new way to serve water at Rev3 aid stations
- A really cool new finish line at our Wisconsin Dells race
- A new forklift (one of our staff members is excited about)