The community prepping for the Ironman race; Cleaning the Savannah River

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF)– People from all over the world will be in the Garden City this weekend for the Ironman Triathlon, and some community members are making sure the city looks its best.

It all started with one community member walking by the Savannah River after Tropical Storm Irma. Friday, volunteers took to the water and picked up trash to make sure the face of Augusta is one to be proud of.

“This is definitely one of the focal points of the event. They are swimming down the river,” Phil Wahl, the brains behind the cleanup said. He wants to make sure that swim is a clean one.

Ironman athletes will start their Sunday swimming down the Savannah River, and after that, they will bike 56 miles through Georgia and South Carolina, ending the race with a 13 mile run.

Wahl said the Savannah Riverkeeper does a good job in maintaining the river, but it is a community effort: “You need to take care of your own front yard. Even though the curb is supposed to be maintained by the city, I think we all need to take part in making sure our curb looks good and the curb to the river looks good.”

I caught up with a professional Ironman athlete who is prepping for the World Championship race in Kona, Hawaii. Melanie McQuaid raced in Augusta last year, and she is back to do it again.

“You always hear about Southern hospitality, and last year I definitely got the chance to experience it,” McQuaid said.  She told me it is evident Augusta has a strong community of volunteers, and those efforts are important in every community.

“When you do stuff together, whether it’s training for a triathlon or do something to clean up garbage or volunteer, it expands your circle of friendships and support. Those events are really great in bringing the community together in a positive way,” McQuaid explained.

Wahl said it is important for Augustans to make sure the city stays presentable, not only before big events.

The Ironman kicks off Sunday, and count on NewsChannel 6 to bring you the latest on the race.

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