With a gunshot echoing in the air, No. 268 dove into the water and the race began.
She was one of around 190 individuals and teams competing in the Oswegoland Park District’s I Tried a Triathlon through Boulder Hill Sunday. The event started with a 250-yard swim at the Civic Center pool, then a 6.5-mile bike ride and finishes with a 2.1 mile run in the area around the
The skies hung overcast and an on and off rain soaked participants and fans alike, but the atmosphere remained cheerful.
“We’re all going to get wet anyway,” said Amy Stuckey, 37, who was waiting for her turn to jump into the pool.
Crowded around the pool’s edge was a wide range of competitors and talents, from those attending their first triathlon to seasoned veterans.
“It’s great that this event is for all body types and all ages,” said John Stevens, whose family started the I Tried a Triathlon event 26 years ago.
Kristie Vest, special events coordinator for the Oswegoland Park District, said the triathlon is one of her favorite events each year.
“It doesn’t just bring out the seasoned athlete. They are there, and they get impressive times. But it also attracts those people looking to accomplish something they have never done," she said.
For Tami Ryan, 50, this was her first time trying a triathlon. She said she was motivated by her son, who is now in the U.S. Army.
“I saw him run the St. Louis marathon and I thought, if he can do 26.2 miles, I can certainly do this," she said.
Ryan’s husband, Richard, 50, said he had participated in a triathlon before they were even called that. “It was the swim – bike – run,” he recalled. Despite not having participated in a long time, Richard placed 9th in his age division and Tami placed 5th.
Mark Luttrell, 39, and his wife, Pauline, 40, were among those who had run in the event before. Mark had placed best overall male in 2010, and followed that victory with another this year at a time of 32:15. Pauline placed first in her age class again this year. Christina Sliepka, 20, was the women's overall winner.
The I Tried a Triathlon began when David Stevens proposed the idea to the park district 26 years ago for a “short sprint” category triathlon, after having competed in some himself. It’s been going strong since.
About 60 people participated in those first races. Over the years, the races became more organized with staggered starts, so that this year's race had around 190 participants.
For results of Sunday's race, log on to racetime.info.