Raleigh, N.C. — The big number in Raleigh this weekend is 70.3 – the distance of the IronMan event that will challenge participants to swim, bike and run in the Triangle's first triathlon.
For Andy Underwood, that mileage looks paltry compared to the trip he made from Alaska just to compete. Underwood had his eye on an equally important number: the one on the thermometer.
"Here it's going to be whole lot hotter, but I'll just take it easy, make sure I stay hydrated," he said.
Taking it easy is not on the agenda for Team Raleigh Coffee Company, whose members know a thing or two about needing that extra boost. "I'm going to want to go, go, go and beat a time and get faster," said Matt Thein.
Thein is running as part of a team organized by Joe Bland, the owner of Raleigh Coffee Company.
"Go out and do what you enjoy. That’s the mantra of our coffee company," Bland said. "So that just kinda correlates with our team too."
What started as Bland's idea to add inspiration to competition grew to a team of 20 with a goal beyond the finish line. Team Raleigh Coffee Company has committed to raise $10,000 to send local children to camp at the YMCA.
"What better motivation than providing something to somebody else," Thein said.
The 2,500 participants in the event all have their magic number. The youngest registered racer is Jorge Santoyo, 18; the oldest is a Hillsborough woman who is 74.
An important number to remember, even for those who won't swim, bike or run this weekend is 14 – the number of road closures in Wake and Chatham counties on Sunday for the duration of the race.