CAMP PENDLETON — More than 1,200 triathletes swam, cycled and sprinted to the finish line during Camp Pendleton’s 2011 Sprint Triathlon, Aug. 6.
The Sprint Triathlon occurs annually as part of the Marine Special Operations Command Hard Corps Race Series, and serves as the fourth of the six-annual events offered for participants.
“This is by far one of the best triathlon courses that I’ve ran,” said Navy Nurse Corps Lt. Molly Cook, who has participated in more than 30 triathlons in her three years of competing. “The support you get from the Marines and sailors who volunteer is what truly separates this course from others.”
For Cook and her husband, who placed second overall for males at 1 hour, 16 minutes, and 54 seconds, staying fit and being outdoors is what keeps them in the competition. For active duty members like them, it’s hard to find the time to be truly dedicated to training for an event like this, she said.
“Competing with military members creates a whole new element for the race,” said Cook. “My husband has been competing in triathlons and ironman competitions for 20-plus years and he really got me into it. It just adds to your level of physical fitness when you train not only for the military, but to put yourself to the challenge in a competition.”
The 500-yard swim, 30-kilometer bike ride and 5-kilometer run started at Assault Craft Unit 5’s shoreline and continued through the rolling foothills of Camp Pendleton.
The competitors for this year’s triathlon were separated into 13 waves and sent into the ocean at five-minute intervals to avoid clusters and prevent injuries during the course.
“For me, the swim is the challenging part,” said Staff Sgt. Larry Trampel, an administrative clerk, Headquarters and Support Battalion, MCB Camp Pendleton, who finished first in his division at 1:30:13. “But once I get over that hump, the rest of the race just puts me at peace.”
The series of events were categorized into military and civilian divisions, which were separated by age group and gender.
The top three in each category were awarded with a medal once the winners were posted. This year’s overall winner was Mark Tripp, 30, who finished the race in 1:13:53.
“To put on events like this, it truly takes a collective effort,” said Anthony “T.C” Carson, Hard Corps Race Series director, Semper Fit Division, Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Community Services. “Everyone works together as one cohesive unit to make it happen. It’s amazing at how much support we get and how every year it just gets better and better.”
The Hard Corps Race Series also sponsors the upcoming Heartbreak Ridge Half Marathon, scheduled for Sept. 10, and the Buffalo Ally 10-K, 5-K and 1-K run scheduled for Oct. 15.
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