var requestedWidth = 0; > if(requestedWidth Patty Spector, coordinator of the Josh Billings RunAground Triathlon, said the race is losing money due to rising costs and a drop in cash donations.
Photo by Darren vanden Berge / Berkshire Eagle
>Friday, October 20LENOX , After paying for 1,827 T-shirts ($10,000), a couple dozen police officers and sheriffs ($5,000), 725 electronic timers ($3,600), and thousands of dollars in other race-related costs, the Josh Billings RunAground Triathlon
Committee aims to donate $5,000 to the United Way this year.Yet race costs are rising and cash donations are ebbing for the biggest event of its kind in New England, and the United Way contribution , and the race itself , is becoming a tighter financial squeeze, said Patty Spector, the race's coordinator.
Since the Sept. 17 race, Spector
has been tallying up the expenses, bills and dispersing payments.The total is $51,700, including $5,000 for the United Way.
In past years, the race has cost between $40,000 and $45,000.
"We need to let the community know how expensive this race is every year, and how valuable it is to the community," said Spector
."Sponsorships have gone down, and we're getting more iron-people (individuals who compete alone), who pay less than team competitors."The Josh
is the only triathlon in New England
in which teams bike, paddle and run in 29 different race categories.In the past few years, team participation has leveled out to about 400 teams annually, Spector
said.The Josh Committee
has resisted increasing entry fees, however.Registration brought in nearly $34,000 this year, while actual cash contributions totaled about $14,000 , $2,000 behind last year's sum.The race committee also rolled over about $3,000 from last year's race to kick off this year's expenditures, said Spector
has no complaints about donors' decisions: Many are longtime contributors who have trimmed their contributions in order to share their charitable funds with other organizations or because their resources are tighter.
Yet other potential donors don't know much about the race, she
"The Josh," as it's known around these parts, is a one-day extravaganza, a spectator sporting event that doesn't have the fundraising panache of a year-round performing arts center or historical restoration.
The 30-year-old race survives, she
said, because of its devoted volunteers, in-kind or partially in-kind contributions, and the cooperation of the five towns throughout which the race passes through.The Josh
relies on the ongoing support of the Berkshire County Sheriff's Department
, which provides uniformed officers to control traffic and direct racers, said Spector
"Sometimes, I have no clue how this race happens, or who does what, and I'm panicking, and somehow it gets done," said Spector
, who receives $6,000 as race coordinator, a job that officially begins with planning in January.
called Petricca Industries
, a Pittsfield construction company, asking for a donation of orange traffic cones, and they came through.
"What we really need is bigger businesses to take a look and say, 'This is not just a little race for a few people,' " Spector