May 24, 2012

1st Time Tri — Triathlon for beginners is big hit

Story and photos by Natalie Lakosil
Staff Writer

Triathlon participants warm up in the water before their heat begins. There were five heats during Saturday’s event.

The “1st Time Tri” held Saturday by Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation’s Sports, Aquatics and Fitness Division gave participants a chance to take part in a different kind of triathlon.

“We host a spring triathlon in June, and it intimidates a lot of people because it is a designated distance. So, we changed the format of this triathlon to not a distance-based triathlon but a time-based triathlon,” said Chief of SAFD, Leslie Woods, who acted as the race director.

The first-ever 1st Time Tri was held at Barnes Field House, Saturday morning. The event is a 15-minute swim with a 10-minute transition, then a 15-minute bike ride on stationary bikes with a 10-minute transition and finally a 15-minute run on the track, and whoever went the farthest would be the winner.

Damon Halbert and Kendall Miles, 4, hold a sign cheering Kendall’s mom Tammy Fales on. Fales was participating in the triathlon Saturday.

“I am a experienced triathlete but this is just something different. I like the unique idea of just 15, 15, 15 — it’s kind of fun. I am getting ready for the Steelhead Triathlon that is in a couple of weeks so this is a great way to [get ready] for it,” said participant Dana Eversole. “I have done about a dozen triathlons, and this is the first one I have done of this kind. They need to do more of them,” she added.

More than 50 people signed up for the event but a few did not show on Saturday. Participants ranged in age from 14 to 60, but there was not an age cap.

“We have broken it down just like our other races, overall male and female, age group winners, and it is less intimidating,” Woods said.

The event was open to the public with a cutoff number of 100 participants because of the limited amount of space.

“For many of them this is their first time participating in a triathlon. That was our intent — to give them a venue or opportunity to just get their feet wet on what its like to swim, bike and run all in the same day,” Woods added. “And it is competitive, but it’s not that competitive.

“We are talking about doing it again next month using the same format,” Woods said. The event is free for active duty Soldiers and costs $10 for everyone else.

Leslie Garnsey, a first time triathlon participant, said, “a friend convinced me to try it. I am a little nervous. I don’t know much about swimming but the running and bike, I am OK with.”

Another participant, Jordan Rubin of Company A, 305th Military Intelligence Battalion, said he decided to do the triathlon because he has set personal goals for himself. One of those goals is to participate in every event that the FMWR has while he is assigned at Fort Huachuca.

Terri Lobdell cheers on fellow triathlon participant and friend, Jenette Blamer, U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence, after Blamer completed the last event — running. The pair signed up together.

“So I am trying to accomplish that goal. This is one of the obstacles in the way, and I am here to take it on. I have done about four events so far since being stationed here in January. This is my first triathlon. I am really excited and I figured this be a good way to lead into the big triathlon in June.”

“This is a completely different group than what we see at triathlons. These are people that have never done a triathlon before, so they want to try it and see if they can do it,” said Brittany Whiteley, aquatics manager at Barnes Field House.

“It kind of gives them a heads up from the swim to the transition to the bike and all that kind of stuff so it is just a completely different group. It is fun because there are a lot of people out here that have always wanted to try something like this but it intimidates them with the distance so they have an opportunity to do it now,” Whiteley added.

“I am tired!  It was great and I would do it again,” said Jenette Blamer of the U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence, after finishing the triathlon. Blamer signed up for the event with friend Terri Lobdell.

“This is the first time we have ever done anything like it before. We met in Iraq, and I called her and said we have got to do this. I am ecstatic,” said Lobdell.

The overall winners for males were: 1st-Daniel Stacks, 2nd-Nathan Derenge and 3rd-Christopher Gin.

For females the overall winners were: 1st-Anna DeLozier, 2nd-Meghan Schrader and 3rd-Julie Henderson.

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Photos Courtesy of Maj. Brian Hayes

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