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UMD students Clayton Keim and Clint Agar have taken classroom lessons and turned them into reality. They are hosting the First Annual Duluth Duathlon, a 3.1 mile trail run, a 20.4 mile road bike and a 3.3 mile trail run, on Saturday, July 1 at Lester Park in Duluth. Photo: Keim and Agar (l-r) at Lester Park.
Agar is a senior communication student. "I took a public relations class with professor Tom Fediuk," he said. "I'm applying the marketing principles I learned from him to the project. Tarket marketing, public relations, direct mail, we're doing all of that. When we looked at advertising for the duathlon, like our class assignments, we had to look at demographics. We needed to advertise to the right people, not the most people. We knew we needed to reach women, because their participation in multisport events have increased dramatically, even in the past two years."
Agar and Keim were able to secure some major sponsors, 12 in all, for the event. Duluth Running Co., Subaru, Super One Foods, Pepsi, Brewhouse Restaurant, and others were impressed enough by the duathlon marketing plan to sign on.
Keim, a senior accounting and finance major, says his involvement with UMD’s Entrepreneur Club and directing races for Rod Raymond, coordinator of fitness and wellness at UMD, taught him what he needed to start a new race. He said working with Raymond, combined with listening to speakers from the club, inspired him to start the duathlon venture. "We bring about 20 speakers a year to the club, and it has been great motivation to do more outside of the classroom," Keim said. "The best speaker this past year was Craig Culver, founder of Culver’s Restaurants. He talked about giving back to the community, and in a way, this duathlon is giving a really nice event to the Duluth community."
The two students met directing a local event last summer, and the skill sets they bring to the project compliment each other: business and budgets from Keim and local contacts and racing experience from Agar. "Duluth is known for great racing events," Agar said. "We've got Grandma's Marathon, the Inline Skate Marathon, and the Brewhouse Triathlon. This race adds one more great weekend to the mix." As we post this story, the two students have almost 200 racers signed up for the event. "We’ve put hundreds of hours into this race, but it has been a good experience so far. This race will compete with some of the best duathlon races in the Midwest," Keim said. "It's a gorgeous course. The running at Lester is great, and the bike course is stellar."
Written by Cheryl Reitan
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