Soldiers post near record times in 8th Army Triathlon
July 22, 2009
CASEY GARRISON South Korea - The Eighth United States Army held its 2009 Individual Triathlon here July 18 where 26 Soldiers vied to set new 8th Army records for a ironman style event requiring a 400 meter freestyle swim, 30 kilometer bicycle run, and a 5 meter run. Times were fast but no records were set as Eric Reid, competing in the Men's Senior division, finished 1 with a time of 58:49, only 1:47 seconds from the record time set by Art Mathisen of 57:02 in 2006.
The fastest times were all set in the Men's Senior division of the event; arriving 2 was Patrick Walsh with a time of 1:08:46, 3, Richard Gash with a time of 1:10:38, 4, Patrick Noble with a time of 1:14:07 and 5, Thomas Graves with a time of 1:14:08.
The reason the top places are often posted by the older athletes is because men usually arrive at their peak physical abilities in their mid thirties, Walsh said.
There were two competitors in the Women's division, Catherine Dickey arrived 1 with a time of 1:48:33 and Marianne Campano 2, with a time of 1:52:08.
In the Men's Open division Cody Jones arrived 1 with a time of 1:09:25, Paul Lashley 2, with a time of 1:10:02, Ledger West 3, with a time of 1:10:18, Scott Weber 4, with a time of 1:12:08 and Su Yi 5, with a time of 1:13:01.
"My strategy in winning this event was to first give myself time to warm up my body with the first heat in swimming," Reid said. "I used the swimming heat to warm up my heart for the rest of the triathlon."
When warming up for a race such as the 8th Army Individual Triathlon, athletes do not want to start cold, Walsh said.
"In our physical training we jog first before doing other exercises," he said. "If you are preparing for an hour race, you don't want to do a cold start, it would peak your heart rate way up without warming your engine up."
"I'm not one of those who can start cold and hold up their performance," Reid said. "If I start too fast, I will die."
For the sports department of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation, planning and presenting a major 8th Army sporting event follows a long tradition of cooperation and success.
"This is the perfect place to host the 8th Army Individual Triathlon," said Floyd Kim, USAG-Red Cloud sports director and organizer of the event. "The space here is big enough to hold the event without having the athletes running off post. We can do a 30 kilometer bike route without leaving the Casey/Hovey enclave."
The topography is varied and includes a lot of challenges for athletes while running or biking, Kim said, and safety is easier to arrange because stations along the routes do not have to be set up off post.
The triathlon routes have remained the same for all the years Area I Sports has been presenting the event, he said. Mapping out the event changes very little from year to year.
"We plan the route to avoid as much traffic as possible and to provide as many topographic challenges as possible," Kim said. "We planned water and safety stations for every 10 kilometers on the route."
"My staff always does a very good job of hosting these events," said Randy Behr, USAG-RC sports director, "it is not as easy as most people think. Traffic control and communication along the course is vital; this team always does the best job."