Published: July 26, 2018
Every morning, Joseph Weber ’19 is up before the sun, lacing his running shoes and headed out the door for a minimum 8-mile run. As a UT athlete on the cross county and track teams, which have fall and spring seasons respectively, he’s always training.
This summer, he’s had to squeeze in his runs before heading to an internship for a company more than familiar with endurance sports. Weber, who is majoring in advertising and public relations, is a public relations intern at IRONMAN’s global headquarters in Tampa.
“I was on Indeed looking around for summer internships. I was looking for a full-time position, and being a cross country and track athlete, endurance sports are my life. So this internship was the best of both worlds,” said Weber, who’d like to train for a marathon when he graduates, with the goal of qualifying for the New York and Boston races. “I’ve never done an IRONMAN, but I know what it entails. Maybe I’ll do one in the future — not the near future.”
The internship has increased his confidence working in a professional environment and has been uplifting. A large part of his responsibilities include finding inspirational human interest stories about the thousands of participants in 25 of IRONMAN’s North America races (IRONMAN, which has over 260 events across 44 countries, acquired the owner of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series in 2017). Weber writes summaries from a combination of the information race participants include in their application and additional research he conducts. Then his supervisor chooses which to pitch to media.
“I have really enjoyed reading and recording the stories that athletes have to tell, they make the work much more enjoyable and give everything a purpose,” said Weber, of South Brunswick, NJ.
The stories vary from athletes with disabilities and those overcoming extreme obstacles like addiction to those competing for a certain cause, ex-professional athletes, high-ranking CEOs and war veterans. One such story, about a deaf athlete and her experiences training for the Chicago Rock ‘n’ Roll 10K race this July, was picked up on ABC7 in Chicago.
“It was really fulfilling to see a story come to life and make someone's story heard,” Weber said.
Weber came to UT to run but has come to really value the networking opportunities the University and Tampa offer, especially with professional sports teams. The Department of Communication alone offers over 60 internships in areas ranging from advertising to content creation to entertainment.
This past year, Weber landed a game night internship with the Tampa Bay Lightning, in part through a connection with an alumni runner. He’ll continue the internship this year as well, assisting the Lightning’s public relations staff with game night tasks, such as running stats to the locker room, recording player interviews and handing out media credentials to the press.
“Being at UT and being in the Tampa area, there are so many connections to be had, things to do and opportunities,” said Weber, who also works for the admissions office as a Spartan Ambassador, giving tours of campus to prospective families.
“IRONMAN has made me become much more comfortable in the professional workplace, it has boosted my confidence in my ability to get things accomplished and really aim for a future in the field of sports public relations,” Weber said. “It has also acted as an eye opener in that there is so much still to be learned and so much room for growth that you just can’t experience in the classroom alone.”
Have a story idea? Contact Jamie Pilarczyk, Web Writer
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