Race Directors of the Month: Cori Moore and Emerald Bragg

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Cori Moore and Emerald Bragg met when they were just 15 years old. Little did they know then, their friendship would eventually lead them to their business, iTRI365, which they founded together in 2015.

Based in Tyler, Texas, iTRI365 produces successful running, triathlon and cycling events, while also offering timing and event management solutions. We recently spoke with Moore and Bragg about their multi-faceted business and what it’s like working as a team.

What motivated you to start iTRI365?

CM: We really hit the ground running in 2015 to start a triathlon training business, along with a timing company, because neither of those two were in our area. We saw an opportunity to start our own events since we basically had all the equipment we needed, and it’s grown from there.

EB: Cori and I had recently re-connected through social media, and my husband and I were intrigued watching her posts about triathlons, and we saw they were going to jump feet first into the timing thing. We had to be involved with whatever this was going to be. We became partners, did some timing events, saw ways things could be improved and we went into the events from there.

What sets your events apart from those of other organizations?

CM: One of the things we hear the most from athletes is that we’re inclusive. We stay for the last runner, yelling just as loud and excitedly as we did for the first-place winner. We strive to make sure that athletes at all levels feel welcome at our events.

EB: We also work hard in establishing relationships with all of the athletes. I always say that I have a crazy ability to remember a person, so if they’ve done one of our races, we typically remember them going forward. It’s always funny to watch people who may have only done one or two of our events come into packet pickup and see we’ve already looked up their name and assigned their bib. It is very important to us to make sure everyone feels welcome and that we show them how important they are to us and our events.

What makes you happy to go to work every day?

CM: Our team. We have really developed a great team, from the ones who do setup to our packet pickup staff to the ones in the timing tents. The hearts of iTRI365 are what carries the company forward, and we’ve been incredibly blessed to have people working with us who care as much about our events and the participants’ experience as we do.

EB: It sounds so cliché, but honestly, knowing we are a part of something way bigger than an athletic event. We see people from all athletic backgrounds, from never having participated in a race to seasoned athletes who are working toward PR’s and wins. The feeling of accomplishment is always there, and it’s amazing to see people inspired and successful in their goals. I just love being a part of that on every level!

What's it like working together as co-founders?

CM: We first met when we were 15 years old. We went our separate ways only to reconnect on Facebook and start our friendship over as mothers of small children, going through similar life changes. We’ve had our ups and downs, but it’s honestly the best combination of our strengths and weaknesses. There have been times when one of us just couldn’t give as much, and the other had to carry the load. At the end of the day, we learned how to “stay in our lane,” and it works for us. She’s my best friend, and as long as we’ve put that relationship at the forefront, being honest and open, we’ve been able to create some amazing things and get through some of the hardest times, stronger than ever.

EB: There’s honestly not another person in the world I would have rather gone on this journey with. We’re almost complete opposites in every realm as far as personalities go. Being friends, I feel, is what has allowed us to communicate our differences in our business life. And learning to communicate in our business life has allowed us to take our friendship to deeper levels. Our relationship and business have also made room for our children to become best friends and our husbands to create their own business together.

What tools have you used to increase your success?

CM: The ACTIVE On-Site app was a game-changer for us. Couple that with the integration into the timing system, and for a timer, it’s like magic. Our packet pickup process is smooth and our timing preparation even smoother. When we finally purchased the timing system, it was like we moved to the next level. We can bring technology and efficiency to our events, and that’s so important in this industry.

EB: Onsite is my packet pickup boyfriend—no, seriously, there are no words. The way it allows us to set up and implement packet pickup and race day registration and the ease with which volunteers can use it without fearing a host of human errors make me giddy! I’ve never been as much on the timing side as Cori, but even I can upload and time using IPICO, and that says a lot!

How do you handle setbacks and challenges?

CM: We call our account manager Matthew (laughs). Whenever we’ve had an issue or something hasn’t gone right, our first thought is to call Matthew and somehow this man brings the unicorn dust and makes everything better. The biggest issues we’ve had are things outside our control. They had nothing to do with Matthew, but he has driven down to help us, and he’s always been accessible. That man is gold.

EB: I call him Jesus’ brother. He has to be. He has the patience and miracle-working—there’s just no other option. But I’ve got to give a shout out to Brian with IPICO. There are days I have zero doubt I’m like the annoying little sister that he would be fine not talking to, but he’s always ready to do whatever is needed to help and does so with kindness and professionalism.

What tips would you give to other race directors?

CM: If it’s a new race director, I’d say, “Don’t be scared to mess up. You’re not going to make everyone happy. Find out what went wrong, fix it and knock it out of the park next time.”

EB: I’d say, “Use ACTIVE’s registration and Onsite app and utilize the support offered through them so that you can spend your time problem-solving the other 2500 things that will come up race week that are in no way registration- or packet pickup-related. And have fun! Mob mentality takes cues from the event leaders and staff, so go with that, and play to your strengths and surround yourself with people whose strengths are your weaknesses.”

What are you most excited for in 2020?

CM: 2020 is going to be the year we expand our team and really push hard to be the go-to timer in East Texas and potentially further. We’re starting to move past that start-up stage where we want to invest more time, money and effort into making our events more exciting and different. It takes a lot of trial and error to figure out where that sweet spot is, but we’re getting closer, and I think this is going to be the year we find it.

EB: Yes, definitely the growth we are planning, and also, all the fun marketing ideas that can play on 2020!

Is there anything else you’d like to mention?

CM: We’re a women-owned and operated company, but we absolutely can’t function without the support of our husbands. Our husbands are “voluntold” quite a bit and have been our rocks since day one. Even husbands on our management teams get involved. We don’t discriminate; we appreciate.

EB: I was going to add that they help us without complaining, but that would be too far (laughs). But yes, we absolutely would not be where we are without them. They’re our rocks, our committees, our babysitters and hands-down our biggest cheerleaders!

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January 24, 2020
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