News: Competitors make humid, rainy Tradewind Triathlon a breeze
Story by Kristen Wong
MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII - Despite remnants of Saturday’s downpours lurking around Hangar 101, competitors in full racing gear dove headfirst into the Tradewind Triathlon, Aug. 11, 2013.
The public as well as base personnel were eligible to enter the triathlon as individuals or in a relay group. The last Marine Corps Base Hawaii triathlon of the year included a 500-meter swim, 11.1-mile bike course and a 5-kilometer run.
With a loud pop from the starting gun, competitors began the swimming portion, stirring up the bay waters like a fish-feeding frenzy. Amidst cheers of encouragement, the competitors returned to the flight line, jogging beneath a misty shower of water provided by Aircraft, Rescue and Firefighting Marines holding large hoses.
Teammates and individuals alike hopped on their bicycles, and sped down the flight line. Upon completing the bike course, participants parked their bikes back at Hangar 101.
Competitor Lalo Terpin commented that although there was a strong headwind on the flight line, he said it was a good course overall, and different from last year.
Runners proceeded along the final course, which led past the flagpole, along Dewey Square, up Reed Road, and back to Dewey Square for the finish line.
The first individual across the finish line was Kirk Fritz, with a time of 58:24. Fritz, an Ewa Beach, Hawaii resident, has competed in numerous races, including five Ironman triathlons. For Fritz, the Tradewind Triathlon was his way of training for an upcoming race in Henderson, Nevada.
“It’s great to be out on the base and we’re very grateful as triathletes to be able to have events (like the Tradewind Triathlon),” Fritz said. “It’s great to have some open space (to compete).”
Running aboard MCB Hawaii also brought back memories for Fritz, who first qualified for Kona Ironman by running the Windward Triathlon, which also ended at Dewey Square in the 1990s.
As the runners passed with literally flying colors, flags adorning the finish line, family, friends, water and oranges were waiting.
Competitor Priscilla Shaw sped across the finish line with a time of 1:06:33, bringing her team, Lightning, in second place in the relay category.
This is not Shaw’s first rodeo, having competed in the triathlon four times — twice with a relay group. This year, Shaw, her husband and Terpin split the events three ways. Shaw said her portion, the run, was definitely challenging, fighting the heat and humidity. She praised the volunteers for doing an “excellent job.”
Though some folks may have stepped out of their normal routine to train more for the triathlon, for Shaw and her team, training never ends.
“We train 365 days a year,” Shaw remarked. “We train for life.”
While some families awaited their loved ones at the finish line, other families competed together, like David Puente and his wife. The Puentes’ daughter also raced in the Keiki Tradewind Triathlon the day before.
The 35-year-old San Antonio, Texas native said training for the triathlon brings his family closer together. The family decided to compete in this triathlon together before Puente deploys in the coming year. When asked why he enjoyed racing, Puente said he liked the allure of the challenge.
“If you train your mind, the body will follow. That’s what I love about it,” Puente said.
Alongside racing veterans, first-time competitors also participated, like Brian Koehn, who works as an operations chief with Wounded Warrior Battalion West–Detachment Hawaii. Koehn lost 50 pounds and spent three months training for the triathlon. Twice a week, Koehn went biking and swimming with the wounded warriors.
“I haven’t trained as much on the run, that’s my weakest spot,” Koehn said.
Though results can be very important for many people who strive for various goals such as beating their best time, Puente added that fun is also a must.
“Finish and have fun, that’s what being a triathlete’s all about,” Puente said. “If it’s not fun then why come out here? That’s the first thing I tell my daughter: ‘Just have fun, don’t take it too seriously.’”
The next race in the Commanding Officer’s Fitness Series is the Splash and Dash Biathlon. For more information, call 254-7590 or visit http://mccshawaii.com/races/.