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Racing event specialists join forces, create energetic Ignite Your Event race management partnership

Brian Bangma

Melissa Werkman, left, and Shelley Irwin, right.


After working many years together at cycle road races, running marathons, and triathlons, Melissa Werkman of Tidal Nine Events and Brian Bangma of 42-85 Professional Race Timing Services decided it was time to join forces. They’ve recently formed Ignite Your Event, a full-service race event consultancy that helps race organizers create memorable events.

Although the two live an hour apart, Werkman in Grand Haven and Bangma in Ada, online tools enable them to create an entire event, assign tasks, upload and download files, interact with the client, and interact with other professionals involved with each individual event.

Bangma, a professional race timer, has also been a cycle racer and a race director. Werkman is also a former road racer and triathlete, plus still races mountain bikes. The two are currently working together on the Holland Haven Marathon. A short list of their other collaborations includes cycle races and trail runs: King's Day Criterium, Meijer State Games Time Trial, Zeeland Criterium, and 3-2-1 Harvest Run.

"There are a lot of Michigan events that aren't well known or aren't putting their best foot forward," Bangma says. "It's our job to have them have better everything -- social media, design, racer presentations, etcetera -- from the smallest detail to the largest component; we want to help them grow their event."

"This is year-round work," Werkman says. "Planning starts nine months to a year out. If you look at a race calendar, there are several races almost every weekend of the year regardless of the weather. What we're finding is the racing is pretty busy, so to create new events is not as advantageous as supporting the events that are already in place."

Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor
Images courtesy of Ignite Your Event
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