IF THEY roll out a cake to celebrate the Noosa Triathlon's 30th birthday this year, Garth Prowd should have the honour of blowing out the candles.
And if he starts signing My Way, that would be fitting too.
Prowd has loomed large over the triathlon for most of its existence - so much so that the event and the man are intrinsically linked.
"I've lived and breathed it," he said this week.
Prowd competed in the first Noosa Triathlon in 1983, when only 180 took part, and has been heavily involved in the running of the event since.
He is the founder of Noosa-based company USM Events, which operates the annual multi sport and entertainment festival. It attracts thousands of competitors and spectators every year.
Despite selling USM a few years back, Prowd serves as a consultant for the company and has remained the triathlon's event chairman.
Several times the festival was close to its death rites, only to be resuscitated by Prowd and others.
While each year some of the planet's best athletes descend on Noosa, the event is a lot more than a platform where the elite shine.
It is a "people's event" that is greatly cherished.
Prowd admitted the situation was particularly grim from the mid-1990s through to the early 2000s, due in part to high insurance and road closure costs, and a Sydney Olympics-influenced sponsorship drought.
"There's been some tough times along the way," he said.