Many of the key players behind the scenes of an IRONMAN event, in particular an IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship, are somewhat familiar faces in the community. They serve Greater Zion as part of the police department or hospital or local park staffs on a daily basis, but they step up when IRONMAN comes to town. Each of them find inspiration in the jobs they do, the stellar IRONMAN athletes and their performance, as well as our gorgeous surroundings. And we marvel at these Legends Among Us … both daily and in producing these worldwide events.
Greater Zion resident Curtis Spragg has competed in almost every IRONMAN race in the area. Like most athletes, he does it for love, but in his case, it’s more than just the love of the sport, it’s also for the love of his wife. When possible, Spragg and his wife, Melissa, have made it a tradition to swim, bike and run to celebrate their anniversary during IRONMAN events.
“I love living in Southern Utah,” said Spragg. “Our area provides such a majestic landscape and wonderful recreational activities. My wife and I have competed in almost every IRONMAN event held here in St. George, along with many other cycling and running events. In fact, IRONMAN weekend falls on our wedding anniversary and we have made it part of our marriage to enjoy competing in IRONMAN together as part of our anniversary.”
When the sporty Spraggs aren’t gearing up for IRONMAN, you might find them on the local mountain bike trails. The whole Spragg family has caught the competition bug, with the couple’s two children becoming members of their local high school mountain bike team. “My wife and I help coach on the team,” said Spragg. “It has become a great way for our family to spend time together throughout the week and travel to events to compete as a family. I believe these experiences have brought us closer together as a family and gives us a unique bond.”
As the Intermountain Healthcare IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship presented by Utah Sports Commission draws near, Spragg is gearing up, but his work extends beyond the typical training regimen you might expect. As the Captain of the Administrative Services Division of the St. George Police Department, Spragg also works behind the scenes to help make IRONMAN in St. George a success. He begins by meeting with race officials to ensure a safe race route for participants and minimize the impact to residents. Spragg continues by coordinating efforts between city officials including law enforcement, first responders, the street department and others to ensure everyone understands their role in keeping the venue and residents safe and mitigating any concerns.
He’s motivated to support community events like IRONMAN thanks to a deep love for and pride in his community. “I truly enjoy these large events coming to our community,” said Spragg. “It speaks volumes about the quality of our citizens who are so willing to volunteer their time and effort to make the events as successful as they are. I have heard race directors every year mention how our local community is not only majestic to look at, but the event’s biggest success comes from the great volunteers and community support. The race directors cannot say enough good about our citizens, and that gives me a lot of pride to know I am part of that.”
When asked about the most gratifying part of supporting IRONMAN events, you might expect to hear Spragg, a consummate competitor, discuss the success of crossing the finish line. Instead, here too he speaks of his pride in the residents of the area. “I think it all comes together when I hear how much the athletes have enjoyed interacting with our citizens,” he said. “I think that is something to be proud of as a community.”
With the approach of the third world championship-level IRONMAN to take place in Greater Zion in 13 months, Spragg is excited by the value the events continue to bring to the community he loves. In particular, he says, “I find it exciting to bring in thousands of good people into our community,” said Spragg. “I don’t know of many other large events that bring this type of economic impact to a community [with participants] staying for multiple days at local hotels, eating in local restaurants, spending money at local businesses and still going to bed at a reasonable hour without drawing on the resources of our police department.”
Learn more about the 2022 Intermountain Healthcare IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship presented by Utah Sports Commission and read other inspirational stories over on our Greater Zion IRONMAN blog.