WAYNESBORO – The Waynesboro Area YMCA held its 7th annual Strokes, Spokes and Strides mini-triathlon on a soggy Saturday morning.
But the rain and chilly feel to the air on a mid-June morning didn’t dampen the spirits of the men and women (and children) who were looking for a challenge and an adventure.
That’s exactly what they got out of the event that has become a virtual centerpiece for the local YMCA. The enthusiasm and positivity was in abundance in an event that began with a prayer and had an organized “cheer” group urging competitors on.
The triathlon consisted of swimming, biking (13 miles) and running (3.1 miles), with the 300-meter swim (12 laps) kicking off the day for dozens of entrants. Some participants chose to take part in the duathlon (a run, bike, run) event, while others entered as part of a relay team and competed in one of the three events.
“Rain is great,” said Matt Clark, the first to cross the finish line after acing all three legs of the event. “It was nice and cool, didn’t get overheated.”
The 33-year-old veteran of Ironman competitions (2.4-mile swim, 112 mile bike and 26.2-mile run) said that when it comes to triathlons (and he has competed in his share), competitors are likely to peak in their mid-30s. He said he is probably on the downside of his experiences in triathlons but will continue his involvement in encouraging people to break out of their comfort zones and give it a try
Clark, who said he has been a triathlete for 10 years, recently earned a spot on Team USA in the duathlon and competed in an event in Spain.
He said he looks forward to the Waynesboro sprint triathlon.
“I love it,” said Clark, who has come to Waynesboro for five of the seven events. “This is the most enjoyable event. It’s great to be here and see friends.”
Clark, who is a member of the Board of Directors of the Baltimore Tri-Club, said of the Strokes, Spokes and Strides event and other duathlons and triathlons, “It’s against yourself. The bike part is great, riding through the Michaux State Forest. It’s the best course of any of the localized courses. I love it.”
Clark finished the swim in 5 minutes, 17 seconds. He biked the 13-mile course in 37:54 and the 3.1-mile run in 20:48 for an overall time of 1 hour, four minutes and 55 seconds.
Christopher Young, 37, of Sharpsburg, Maryland, was second on the clock. Jeffrey Loomis, 52, of McLean, Virginia was third overall and first in his age group (Master). Ryan Barnhart, 26, of Greencastle, was fourth overall; and John Smith, 58, of McSherrystown, was fifth overall and second in Male Master.
Adam Heebner, 35, of Waynesboro, who competed in his first-ever triathlon of any kind, was seventh overall.
“I’ve been wanting to do it for years,” said Heebner, who has competed in swimming since he was seven years old and ran track in high school. “I actually thought it went well. My goal was to finish all three in an hour and 27 minutes.
“It was the bike part that was new. I had a lot of fun. The rain added another element to it.”
Heebner, who said he trained for the last five weeks for the event, said he might have tried a little too hard in the bike portion.
“Everyone was just passing me,” he said. “I found someone who was going on a similar pace and got behind him.”
Heebner, a teacher at Mowrey Elementary School and a boys’ middle school basketball coach, said he rode his bicycle to the YMCA to prepare for the bike portion of the event.
Ron Mentus, 55, of Waynesboro, Virginia, has been running in duathlon-type events for 34 consecutive years – his first was in 1989 in Philadelphia – is, among other competitors who not only participated but finished strong, refuses to let age dissuade him from the physical and mental challenges of running and biking.
“If you can just not get injured,” Mentos said of successfully completing the grueling events. “When you are younger and more competitive, it’s a circuit. When you’re older, it’s harder to run. Now, I’m tired.”
Mentos said he will probably take part in another event in September in Maryland and a third in Hagerstown, Maryland in October.
Below are the winners of each division of the triathlon:
Matt Clark – Overall Male
Allison Yurkanin, 36, Mechanicsburg – Overall Female
Jeffrey Loomis – Overall Male Master
Dina Beatty, 48, Silver Spring, Maryland – Overall Female Master
Naomi Myers, 19, Lancaster – Female Under 19
John Talbott, 22, Elizabethtown – Male 20-24
Hannah Bowers, 22, Smithsburg, Maryland – Female 20-24
Ryan Barnhart – Male 25-29
Kara Jones, 26, Frederick, Maryland -Female 25-29
Timothy Weaver, 33, Phoenixville – Male 30-34
Christan Young – Male 35-39
Mary Snyder, 39, Ijamsville, Maryland – Female 35-39
Doug Pauselius, 48, Waynesboro – Male 45-49
Don Gray, 54, Finksburg, Maryland – Male 50-54
Karen Young, 53, Boyds, Maryland – Female 50-54
John Smith, 58, McSherrystown – Male 55-59
Wynn Fertig, 62, Waynesboro – Male 60-64
Theresa Shank, 61, Waynesboro – Female 60-64
Val Indye, 66, New Market, Maryland – Female 65-69
John Commander, 75, Hagerstown, Maryland – Male 70 and over
Mary Luquette, 72, Gettysburg – Female 70 and over