News: Despite threat of bad weather, many turn out for annual triathlon
Story by Spc. Bradley Wancour
FORT HOOD, Texas - The Fort Hood Directorate Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation fitness coordinators hosted the fifth annual Sprint Triathlon Saturday at Belton Lake Outdoor Recreation Area.
“We started off with the 300-meter swim, and then did the 12-mile bike ride and a 5K run,” said Millie Land, DFMWR recreational specialist.
In order to accommodate the large number of entrants, the athletes were divided into three groups. The male racers started the event off, followed by the females and finally, school-age children.
“The youngest person we had out here was 11 years old, and the oldest was 78,” Land said.
To start the race, participants entered Belton Lake and swam 150 meters, and then turned around to complete the 300-meter distance. Once they finished the swim, they retrieved their bikes and made their way up a steep hill and through the main entrance of BLORA. After returning from the bike route, they put their bikes on the rack and ran along the lake for five kilometers.
“It was a really cool course,” said Sgt. Joseph Young, a 1st Cavalry Division Band musician. “The bike ride was good because of the up-and-down-hill route, which is preferable for this kind of event, and the run route was really scenic. The MWR put on a good triathlon.”
The race had many benefits and was conveniently located, the soldier said.
“The triathlon was free, which is really cool, because usually, to participate in any athletic road race, you have to pay a lot,” Young said. “Plus, it was great to have one near post like this.”
Besides the participants from Fort Hood, the triathlon brought athletes from all over Central Texas.
“We have the Baylor University Triathlon Club here, we have a triathlon group out of Waco, we have runners from Georgetown, Salado, Copperas Cove, Killeen, Harker Heights and, of course, our Fort Hood element, so we had a really great turn out today,” Land said.
Even with the threat of bad weather, the triathlon route was crowded with swimmers, bikers and runners.
“We had 287 athletes sign up, and about 155 participate,” Land explained. “I guess a lot of people were expecting bad weather.”
With the sun hidden behind the clouds and the cool breeze, many people felt the weather was perfect, including Young.
“It was a perfect day for it. It wasn’t too hot,” Young said. “I’ve never swam at BLORA before, but the water was warm today, which is great.”
Young participates in triathlons whenever he gets the chance.
“I try to get in touch with the triathlon community as much as I can,” Young said. “This triathlon is as good, if not better than, a lot of the others I have participated in.”
Jared Milhoan, Baylor Triathlon Club president, took advantage of the good weather to take home the title of Overall Male Winner.
“It feels great to be the overall winner,” Milhoan said. “This is my second time doing this. It was a lot of fun to come back and do so well.”
To train for the triathlon, Milhoan runs 60 to 70 miles a week.