by AJ Schultz, Staff Writer, UAS Whalesong

IRONMAN Brings Cash to Campus

The 2022 Ironman Alaska triathlon was held in Juneau on Aug. 7, the first time the international event has been held in the state.  The UAS campus served as the start and finish lines, as well as all transition points and the Ironman village.

The Student Recreation Center was the base of operations for the race, according to Dave Klein, Associate Director of Campus Recreation. On race day, the Rec was the site of a complex network of communications, involving about 60 staff from the Juneau Police Department, Capital City Fire Rescue, as well as state and other agencies, all ready to dispatch assistance, including paramedics, to athletes on the course. 

“They picked their best employees to come up here,” Klein said.  “They were up for the challenge – it was new, and they wanted it to go right, and it did.” 

The race was smooth in terms of a lack of injuries, Klein said.  And despite Juneau weather conditions, competitors were a fan of the course. 

“It didn’t seem to bother the athletes too much,” he said.  “People really liked that run course.”  

Juneau’s more temperate climate also piqued the interest of Ironman organizers.  “We don’t have the smoke or the air quality issues that they’re experiencing elsewhere,” Klein said. 

Before the race, the City and Borough of Juneau estimated Ironman would bring $7 – $9 million dollars to the local economy.  Final numbers were not available at the time Whalesong went to press. 

Ironman athletes numbered 850, and many brought family and friends to Juneau to support them. 

“Campus was perfect for it,” said Klein, who served as the lead UAS representative on the planning committee. “We had 2,000 people on campus.” 

Klein said T-shirt sales, Lakeside Grill and Market sales, and JPH room rentals saw a considerable rise in sales while visitors were on campus.

UAS is signed on for a multi-year contract with IRONMAN to host the triathlon in 2023 and 2024, with work already underway for next year’s race. 

Dave Klein Comments on Rec Center Upgrades, Weight Room Delays

The UAS Student Recreation Center awaits equipment and machinery before the weight room reopens. New weights have been delivered and set up on their racks in the weight room, but the Rec Center awaits the delivery of MATRIX and Smith machines. Students can expect to start using the weight room in early October.

The new specially designed weights in the weight room post-delivery. PHOTO COURTESY OF DAVE KLEIN

The brand new room is the most recent of several Rec Center renovation projects.  

COVID-19 related shutdowns gave Rec staff an opportunity to repair and refurbish the climbing wall, adding a sky-like painted ceiling to match the desert-like wall, and replacing bolts and faulty audio equipment while orientations and climbing were suspended. 

Now that climbing wall refurbishments are finished, students and staff can enjoy it whenever they like during business hours.  

“It’s an open climb!” said Climbing Coordinator Matt Schiffner. “Whenever the Rec is open, the wall is available. Get a group together and enjoy the vertical world.” Climbing wall routes will be changed out every month for variety.

The Rec Center offers biweekly climbing orientations and belaying certifications from 6 p.m to 8 p.m on Mondays and 9 a.m to 11 a.m on Wednesdays.

The Rec Center weight room project began in this summer,  when safety concerns with old equipment were identified.

   Weight room upgrades have been set back by manufacturing delays, shipping complications, and employee shortages. Klein said shippers were unaware the more than 6-thousand pounds of equipment couldn’t just be trucked into Juneau, but instead must be trucked from Texas to Seattle, then barged into Juneau and assembled on-site.    

The weight room has been designed with  UAS-themed paint and decals, and the urethane-coated Troy weights are already  in place.  New high-end, multi-use exercise MATRIX machines, and a Smith machine for heavier weight-lifting with built-in safety braces,  are the next to arrive. 

“Everything is in place – we’re just waiting on shipment,” Klein said.  

Throughout the year, students can take advantage of the rental gear the Rec Center offers. Paddleboards, kayaks, and all sorts of outdoor gear are available for low prices, and the center plans on incorporating winter gear such as ice skates into the catalog as the seasons change.