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PPD Signs On As Title Sponsor For Beach2Battleship Triathlon

By Alison Lee Satake, posted Jun 28, 2010

The Wilmington Family YMCA’s Beach2Battleship Iron Distance Triathlon now has a title sponsor. The November race will be named the PPD Beach2Battleship Triathlon for the next five years, said David Grange, chief executive officer of PPD.

“We’ve had a long-standing relationship with PPD in a couple of areas. They have a number of employees who are members and instructors here,” said Dick Jones, executive director of the Wilmington Family YMCA.

The local non-profit organization leads several races throughout the year. Many of them are sponsored by companies, such as Maus, Warwick, Matthews & Co. and Wilmington Orthopedic. But until now, the Beach2Battleship triathlon, which was ranked one of the top five triathlons in the world by Triathlete magazine this year, has not had a main sponsor.

PPD approached the organization in March about becoming one, Jones said.

Last year, the event which includes a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride and a 26.2 mile run attracted about 1,600 athletes from 41 states and 12 countries. For the local economy it generated about $3 million in revenue from hotels, restaurants and retail stores, according to the Wilmington-Cape Fear Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The Beach2Battleship triathlon is the largest fundraising event for the Wilmington Family YMCA. It raised $50,000 in its first year in 2008 and has risen due to popularity, Jones said. The organization hosts eight other race events throughout the year.

“I think our special events and contributions and those sorts of dollars are about 12 percent of our operating budget. Memberships and programs are the balance of that,” Jones said.

Levels of sponsorship range depending on the size of the event. “Oftentimes, but not always, businesses will look at it as an opportunity to market who they are to the community,” Jones said.

Being the title sponsor for this race fulfills three things PPD is interested in: corporate responsibility to the community, the company’s wellness program that promotes healthy living among its employees and to educate the public about the importance of clinical trials, Grange said.

“The end state is all about serving humanity,” he said. He competed in the Iron Man Triathlon in Hawaii in 1983 and a Double Iron Man triathlon, which is twice the distance, in 1986 in Huntsville, Ala. He said he is unsure if he will compete in the PPD Beach2Battleship Triathlon due to pre-existing injuries.

In the following months, PPD will highlight athletes who have overcome health adversities to compete in the race in November through its PPD Heroes Program.

The PPD Beach2Battleship Triathlon will be held on Nov. 13. It begins in Wrightsville Beach, winds through New Hanover, Pender, Sampson and Bladen counties and ends at the Battleship North Carolina memorial park.

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