Industry Experience Takes Student to Spain
Sophomore Taylor Ketcham had been involved with Ironman Triathlon long before choosing to attend St. John Fisher College for sport management. The Cazenovia, New York native has been a competitor, race volunteer, and spectator over the years, helping her develop a passion for event management along the way.
In October, she traveled to Barcelona, Spain where she embraced a unique opportunity to gain more industry experience while also supporting her mother in competition.
“I’ve had the opportunity to travel to different races,” said Ketcham, “but I couldn’t pass up this opportunity to get involved and experience this race with more responsibility.”
When her mom, Heather, made the decision to compete in Barcelona, Ketcham immediately began the process of securing her spot as a race volunteer. Her extensive background with Ironman enabled her to make a quick impact.
“As an athlete and someone who has worked the events in many different areas, I knew what would be best for the athletes during the race,” she said.
While in Barcelona, Ketcham helped with course set-up, assisted with race registration, managed the swim start/swim aid station, and supported athletes from start to finish.
“The athletes were amazing to work with. From set-up to break down, they were very appreciative of the effort the volunteers put forward,” she recalled.
Volunteers play an important role in supporting any sporting event but they are critically important to the success of a large-scale competition like Ironman, which saw 3,075 athletes compete in a 2.5-mile swim, a 112-mile bicycle ride, and a 26.2-mile run without a break.
“Without volunteers, the racers wouldn’t have a good experience and the spectators would be lost. We direct spectators, answer questions, and keep the race going without any hiccups,” Ketchum said.
She gained a wealth of knowledge to share with classmates, a task she has embraced since returning.
“I would advise students to go for as many opportunities as they can, whether it’s helping out with local community events/tournaments or looking into other sport organizations in the area. It is so important to add experiences to your résumé,” she said.