Triathlon returns for another run
It was a hot, sticky Saturday morning as at least 231 people jumped into the water at Fred Benson Town Beach to start the 2021 Block Island Triathlon, held by the Block Island Recreation Department.. Just under three hours later, the last person crossed the finish line.
The event started with a quarter-mile swim with the women starting first in three separate, staggered starts, followed by the men with their own staggered starts. After
exiting the water there was a rush to get on the bikes and complete the 12-mile cycling course that ran up Beach Avenue to Center Road and then went around the west side, twice, before heading back to the beach, where the race finished with a four-mile run on the sand.
While the racers were out on their bikes, volunteers set up tables with water, Gatorade, bananas and cut oranges. An ambulance stood by, just in case.
Some were in it to compete and others, seemingly just to say: “I did it.” Family members ran together, sacrificing time for companionship. Some gave up before the
end, or just forwent the final leg. “My knees don’t run,” one man was heard saying.
But most finished the race, despite hiccups. “Mark got a flat tire,” said one of the later finishers, indicating that there may be a few stragglers as volunteers were trying to determine how many people were still out there. They recorded each racer’s number, drawn in black marker on a shoulder or calf, on a clipboard. An orange ankle band did the rest – recording exact start and finish times for each leg of the race. Those who almost forgot to take them off were told, jokingly: “We can track you all through town, later.”
The first one to cross the finish line was Kelsey Lundberg, who was cool as a cucumber and not at all winded. When the results were tabulated, she would wind up in third place overall.
Lundberg, 24, is from Salida, Colorado, but working on the island this summer, and evidently had worked tending bar the night before until two in the morning. She finished in one hour, 14 minutes, and 14 seconds – just four seconds behind the overall second place winner Patrick Boyle, 28, of Medford, Mass.
The overall winner, with a time of one hour, eight minutes, and 25 seconds, was Ian Bachman-Sanders, 33, from Arlington, Mass.
Medals were awarded in age-groups, for both males and females, ranging from 18 to 24 in five-year increments up to age 69. Above that was the singular category of 70 to 90. Shea Jezek, 70, from East Haddam, Conn. was the sole female – and therefore the winner – to compete in that category. Bruce Arnold, 71, from East Greenwich, RI, won the men’s age group.