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Transplant Athlete
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
  A New Beginning

Recently, the Race Across America (RAAM) was sold by Jim Pitre and Lon Haldeman to a group led by John Hughes and Fred Boethling. I think Lon was probably burnt out on RAAM, and Jim Pitre as the majority owner was taking on a lot of the workload by himself.

John and Fred have made a flurry of announcements including the hiring(or appointment) of Jeff Stephens as the Sales and Marketing Director for the race. As any business owner will tell you, nothing happens until somebody sells something. In the case of RAAM, there wasn't anyone specifically tasked with selling advertising space, licensing the logo, and pursuing joint marketing. We were told that the race wasn't broadcast on TV because RAAM couldn't sell the advertising space and we were also told that the entry fees don't cover the costs to put on the race. Jeff Stephens should be able to bring in the kind of cash that can get the broadcast back on the air.

There were some logistical issues that were evident by the part time nature of Jim Pitre's ownership that I think will be solved under the new owners. RAAM as an entity needs to be a year round thing. Terry Zmrhal was brought on as Race Director. Since he won't have to go in search of funding, and doing the million other things that Jim Pitre was doing, he should be able to get things moving faster. Ideally, he should have a crew working on the upcoming race and another group working on the following year's race. Again, all of this takes cash, which Mr. Stephens is tasked with finding.

As a successful business person, I think Fred Boethling is uniquely suited to bring RAAM to the next level. I hope he can duplicate the success of the World Triathlon Corporation (they own the IRONMAN Triathlon).

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I've gone through kidney failure twice. The first time in 2000, my mother donated a kidney; and again in 2008, I'm on dialysis waiting for a breakthrough in immuno-suppression medicines before seeking a new kidney.

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