Swim, Bike, Run

First ‘Be A Beaver’ Triathlon gets good reviews

Abbie Meyers hopes the Be A Beaver Triathlon—held for the first time May 31 in Bluffton—becomes an annual event.

The Bluffton resident was the female winner of the combined swim, bike and run, finishing with a time of 1:12:39. “It was a great experience,” she said, noting that the off-road segment of the 5K running course made the event “really stick out” from other triathlons in which she has competed. “I’d love to see it continue.”

Meyers participated with her husband, Aaron, who finished right behind her in 1:12:44, good for first place in the men’s 30-34 age group.

She wasn’t the only of the 63 participants with praise for the event, which began with a 400-meter swim in the Bluffton Community Pool. Triathletes then biked 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) through rural and residential areas and ran the 5K (3.1 miles) around campus, along back roads and through the university’s nature preserve before returning to the pool. Entrants could compete in all three segments, enter as part of a team or just try one segment of their choosing.

Among several participants from Defiance was John Hartpence, cross country and track and field coach at Defiance College, who was the fourth overall finisher in 1:04:37.

“It’s an excellent course design. Excellent volunteers. Everything you want in a course,” he said after finishing.

Proceeds from the event will support Bluffton University’s cross country and track and field programs, but Hartpence was happy to help a rival. “It’s a good cause and one I can appreciate. I know the challenges of fundraising,” he said, adding that triathlon organizers, including Bluffton Coach Karen Brandt, “did a great job.”

Members of the Bluffton teams showed their gratitude by helping organize, set up and tear down for the event. Several university faculty and staff also volunteered, handing out water and directing participants through the course.  “This is what Bluffton is about,” Brandt said. “We help each other out.”

Triathletes included many local residents, as well as university staff and alumni. They represented a variety of locations and ages, including 69-year-old Corwin Croy of Lima. The overall winner was Defiance College student Justin Kahle, with a time of 58:56.

Brandt was pleased with the turnout for a first-time event, noting that she heard “nothing but positive feedback” from participants.

Corporate sponsors for the event were CenturyLink, Shirley’s Gourmet Popcorn Co. and Findlay’s Muddy River Bicycle Co. The village of Bluffton and the community pool served as community partners.

-B-

Chay Reigle, Bluffton public relations