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More Racers, More Impact In PPD B2B Events This Weekend

By Jenny Callison, posted Oct 22, 2014
With more than 2,000 participants in this weekend's PPD Beach2Battleship Triathlon, hundreds more runners in a new 5K race added to the lineup and teams of supporters expected to show up for the events, the race is expected to provide a boost to visitor spending in the area.

The addition of a new 5K race under the PPD Beach2Battleship Triathlon banner means that more people than ever will participate in this year’s event. The Beach2Battleship iron distance race, now in its seventh year, welcomes the NHRMC 5K as a “companion race,” according to an announcement from New Hanover Regional Medical Center.

“The new 5K provides an expanded opportunity for participation in a world-class event weekend, offering athletes a scenic, fast and flat 5K course,” the medical center’s announcement stated.

Proceeds from both races will benefit programs at the Wilmington Family YMCA, said Dick Jones, the organization’s CEO.

Organizers of the inaugural 5K race hoped to attract 300 participants, and by Wednesday, about 200 people had registered, Jones said, adding that same-day registrants should bring the total close to that target, especially since the forecast is for great race weather.

Those runners are in addition to about 2,200 individuals from 43 states and abroad who have registered for the full iron and half iron triathlon sponsored by PPD. Seven of those iron racers are those whom PPD calls its heroes: individuals who have overcome serious illness and choose to race to raise public awareness about “the importance of clinical trials for the development of critical medical treatments,” according to a release from PPD.

The Wilmington and Beaches Convention and Visitors Bureau estimates that the B2B participants, along with their friends and family members who accompany them, will have a more than $4 million impact on the local economy as a result of their lodging, food and related expenditures while they are in town.

The impact on PPD and its clinical trials is important as well, said Elizabeth Kuronen, PPD’s vice president of strategic communications and marketing, in a statement.
“The PPD Beach2Battleship Triathlon provides our company a platform for an exciting public education campaign about the life-changing role of clinical research in delivering medicines for patients in need,” she said in the statement.

“There is a clear need to increase awareness of clinical trials to advance medical research and so physicians and their patients can be best informed about treatment options. Many patients who may be eligible may not know about the opportunity to participate in a clinical trial that can offer cutting-edge treatment and close medical supervision.”

Kuronen said that message is conveyed to all out-of-town Beach 2 Battleship participants and their friends and family, in addition to area residents.

Since PPD began sponsoring the iron distance race, the number of company employees participating has grown along with the event’s visibility.

“For PPD, another benefit of our campaign is engaging our employees, both in our Wilmington headquarters and in other offices around the country and even around the world,” Kuronen said in her statement. “This year, a record 120 PPD employees will compete in the triathlon on TeamPPD, up from 10 employees five years ago."

Event proceeds, which Jones expects will exceed $100,000 this year, will be combined with money raised by the YMCA’s annual support campaign to provide more than $250,000 in financial assistance to area residents who otherwise would not be able to afford to participate in the Y’s many programs, he said.

The finish line in downtown Wilmington is the same for both events, which will make for a “big, exciting, fun” atmosphere as runners stream in, Jones said.

“We’re obviously excited about the hospital’s involvement,” he said. “PPD and the hospital like to work together, so this was another opportunity for them to do so. And since the Beach 2 Battleship draws mostly people from out of town, [the new 5K] was a way for the Y and the hospital to say to the community, ‘get involved as well.’”
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