News: Japanese, Americans tested during Goodwill Modified Triathlon
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan - Japanese locals came to participate with Americans in the 26th annual Japanese and American Goodwill Modified Triathlon aboard Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, Sept. 22, 2013.
Competitors lined up at the station marina to begin the race with a one-kilometer swim. Athletes then proceeded to their bikes and started a 27K bike course. After finishing the bike portion of the triathlon, which ended at IronWorks Gym, contestants raced on foot for eight kilometers.
Ayumu Kobayashi, a college student from Hiroshima, was the first one to cross the finish line, completing the triathlon in one hour, 24 minutes, 17 seconds.
Kobayashi said he has been competing in triathlons for five years, but this was his first time competing in the Goodwill Modified Triathlon and his first time aboard MCAS Iwakuni.
“I am very happy to win since it was my first triathlon on the base,” said Kobayashi, via a translator.
According to Kobayashi his main focus when preparing for the triathlon was improving his swimming, an event he claims to have difficulty completing.
Lt. Col. F. Lance Lewis, Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron commanding officer, also focused on his swimming as he prepared to compete in his first triathlon.
“I’m not a swimmer or a biker, I’m a runner,” said Lewis. “I bought a book on triathlons, did all the swim workouts in there and the same with biking.”
Lewis began his training six months prior to the event and said he is already preparing to compete again next year.
“I’m already thinking about linking up with people in the command who are cyclists so I can get better at that and the transition to running,” said Lewis.
The triathlon attracted 190 participants, approximately 90 percent of them being Japanese, giving locals a chance to explore the base while competing.
“This year, the bike course was around the base so (the Japanese) got to see the construction, the flightline, the sea wall and everything else,” said Mai Tajima, SemperFit recreation specialist.
Tajima added that events like a triathlon are important because they build a bond between American and Japanese people through a shared interest in sports.
“The Japanese see the Americans doing the same sports and then get to talk to them afterward, they said they felt like they were in the states doing a race,” said Tajima. “A lot of them said they want to come back next year.”
With support from multiple units and servicemembers aboard station, including the Robert M. Casey Medical and Dental Clinic, Japan Maritime Self Defense Force and the Provost Marshal's Office, Tajima believes the event was a success.
“I love it,” said Tajima. “I just love the energy of everyone moving forward and wanting to bring people together."