The Longmont Triathlon is just a few days away. Colorado’s longest running triathlon has long been a favorite of locals, seasoned athletes, first time triathletes, kids and so many more.
Several years ago, local business owners and sponsors of the Longmont Triathlon wanted to showcase and honor more than just those who ‘won the race’ and ‘won their age groups’. Everyone has a story that got them to the start line. Here are a few of those stories.
Tiffany H., Most memorable/inspiring Longmont Triathlon experience
March 25, 2016 my (then) 10 year old son was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor, medullo blastoma. In the past 14 months he has endured 4 surgeries, 30 days of radiation and 9 cycles of chemo.
Running is my therapy and I wake in the dark and run the stress & anxiety away. I haven’t been able to get to the pool except twice a month ago – there is always a drs appointment to get in the way.
So, when I wanted to give up, I remember my son and the endurance and fortitude, persistence and tenacity . . .and just keep thinking one more stroke, one more lap, one more step. As God has sustained him, He will sustain me.
For His Glory
Marilyn B.,Most memorable/inspiring Longmont Triathlon experience
I’ve done the Longmont Triathlon several times with my twin daughters (Kara & Dani). The 1st time or two we did it as a team ( I remember Kara nursing her 2 month old baby before she did the swim). After we started doing it as individuals, we usually had more fun training than we did actually racing. I’m not very fast, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve apparently outlived some of my competition because I’ve occasionally gotten awards.
In 2012 I had back surgery and have used triathlon as a way to motivate myself to stay active. This year is my first time back to this triathlon and my first time to do it without either daughter (one is in France, the other in Russia). So, I will be hearing their voices, especially on the run, saying, ‘C’mon Mom, you can do it.’ And I will picture my grand-kids, 6 of them, cheering me from the playground equipment as I run by. I’m just happy to be able to compete now that I’m ‘old’ (70).
The Longmont Triathlon is the longest running triathlon in the state of Colorado. One of the reasons it’s been around for so long is it’s appeal to beginners. It’s a small event, it has a pool swim, is a sprint distance – now with a Try-a-Tri shorter distance, and has just about the best volunteers gratitude can buy.
Several years ago, three local event sponsors teamed together and created the Story Bowl. It offers participants the opportunity to ‘tell their story’ because everyone has one.
Today we share stories from First Time triathlon participants. Read on and get inspired.
Ron L, First Time Triathlete
I started competing in triathlon in 2011. I’ve always loved healthy competition and triathlon were the next new challenge as I passed 50. Competing makes me feel more healthy and I love the opportunity to experience all the different aspects of competitions. But this one was different.
Earlier this year my younger sister was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, MS. This hit my family hard and me especially. So, when I registered for the Longmont Triathlon, it was with renewed purpose: I wanted to compete for her. When I swim/bike today, I’m competing for my sister: when my team stands with me, they stand with her. This experience is something that I want to do because she can’t. I hope through the experience I can show support in my way for her fight.
Stephen D, First Time Triathlete
I started a spin/swim class here at Centennial Pool with the goal of improving my riding and learning proper swim strokes. I had no intention of doing a triathlon but I got hooked on the training, in Jim’s class, and met lots of encouraging class mates. At age 66, my first tri wont be the fastest but it will be my first, and a PR.
Colleen B, First Time Triathlete
My name is Colleen and today I did my first ever triathlon!
I was inspired to do this by my friend Erin. She was supposed to be here today but had to have emergency surgery last week to take her appendix out. So, I dedicate this to Erin A! I was so worried about the swim but I survived! My husband is a UFC fighter and is in phenomenal shape and he kept telling me ‘you have to challenge yourself to change yourself’. I feel like I did that today! What an awesome feeling it is!! Right when I was done I Facetimed my husband and 3 kids and they’re SO proud of me!!
If you missed last week’s post on the Longmont Triathlon Story Bowl and it’s history, check it out HERE
Back in 2014 I engaged Sara Taylor (Currently the City’s Recreation Program Supervisor, but who was also race director at the time), about Boulder Salt partnering/sponsorship in some way with the Longmont Tri. I knew that I wanted it to be in a unique way, rather than the typical age group awards. Sara was very open to suggestions. When it came down to it, I wanted to be a part of an award that didn’t revolve around how fast a person is. I knew from experience that everyone out there has their own story behind getting into triathlon and some people are fighting a fight that you couldn’t imagine. They might be coming in 83rd in their division or even the last to cross the finish line, but there’s something remarkable about their spirit, inspiration, or journey that most people will never know.
So to take the thinking back a few years: before I ever did my first triathlon (which happened to be at the Longmont Tri), I would sign up to volunteer along with other members of Blue Sky Velo, a cycling and tri club I am a member of. I would get to talking to the athletes and was blown away by the stories I heard about what brought them to the event in the first place or why they kept coming back (it’s the longest running tri in Colorado, and maybe even the 48 contiguous states). Read Save the Longmont Triathlon Here
I would get into conversations with other people, including event staff, and tell them the stories. I realized pretty quickly that what I was doing, by reaching out and asking/sharing stories was somewhat unusual and gave people a very different insight into the athletes on course. As I thought about the award and wanting it to be unique, I came up with the idea to ask people to write down their stories, and then choose a few to recognize during the awards ceremony. With Sara’s help I contacted other sponsors, which tended to be independent, local business, told them of the idea and invited them to join me. Two other (long time) Longmont Tri sponsors (*Bob Cranny/Altitude Physical Therapy and Dr. Donna Mitchell/BodyPoint Medicine) were very enthusiastic about this type of award and we joined together to give three participants a very nice prize package based on their “story”.
The stories were broken into 3 categories: My first Longmont Tri, My most unique/funny Longmont Tri experience and My most memorable/inspiring Longmont Triathlon experience. Traditionally I talk to athletes during packet pick up and on race morning and invite them to write down their stories. The other sponsors and myself read the stories and select three (not necessarily one from each category, but we do try for a mixture when possible). Then those stories are read by the announcer immediately preceding the age group awards. Those athletes are awarded their prize package and get their pictures taken. It’s becoming a favorite 5-10 minute time period at the triathlon and a very nice way to honor the community of athletes that are drawn to this long-running hometown event – now in it’s 38th year!
*I would also like to point out the Bob and Donna, in addition to being longtime sponsors, both have a pretty long history of competing in the Longmont Tri! I have participated 2 or 3 times.
Missy C., Triathlon Veteran, Most Memorable Longmont Triathlon
I am currently a veteran of over 25 triathlons and Longmont is one of my favorites. It’s well organized, has great volunteers and always great post race food and other goodies. Most importantly though, I love the atmosphere: low-key, welcoming all abilities and especially encouraging first-timers. My all-time favorite triathlon memory was a few years ago here. . . a female participant was sitting by her bike after the swim leisurely enjoying a piece of chocolate cake! She said she had earned it, and obviously had no desire to rush through the experience. Triathlons do not have to be just a competition or a race. The journey to get there is the real reward, as much as the event itself.
Kirk D., Most Unique Longmont Tirathlon
In 2009, my wife convinced me to do the Longmont Tri with her. I only did it to support her and thught it would only be a 1-time thing. In 2010, I did my first Half Ironman!
Since 2009, I’ve done the Longmont Tri all but one year, Have done dozens of Sprints & Olympics and 3 Halfiron distance races.
The Longmont Triathlon is the longest running triathlon in the State of Colorado. Now in it’s 38th year!
No event can ever be successful with out a full compliment of volunteers. Race Director Sara Taylor is looking for folks to help make this great weekend a huge success. Read on to see how you can help by volunteering for this great event.
Recreation and Golf services is planning for the 38th Longmont Triathlon Weekend on June 2nd and June 3rd. We need volunteers to keep the athletes safe and motivated on the course. This is a wonderful opportunity for families, students, athletic teams, churches, and business organizations to give back to the community, team build, and gather volunteer hours. Youth 16 and under must be accompanied by an adult.
Please consider joining us to cheer, direct participants, hand-out water, or help with registration and/or hospitality. We need help on Saturday, June 2nd from 7am to 11am and on Sunday, June 3rd from approximately 6:15am to 11am. If you can help, please email Sara Taylor (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your job preference, day/days you can help and your contact information. You are welcome to volunteer for one day or both!
Thank you in advance for your time and energy. This event wouldn’t be the same without smiling faces and encouraging cheers.
Gain some inspiration from these great stories shared by first time participants over the past several years. Watch for more of these fun and inspiring Story Bowl Stories over the next several weeks.
Longmont Tri Participant, Greg Thompson, First Timer Athlete
2006. My daughter was 9 and I was 38. She was on a synchronized swim team and I was swimming a handful of times per month, but had not ridden a bike in over a decade and was slow jogging only 2 miles, when I saw the advertisement for kid and adult tri. I asked my daughter, quite out-of-the-blue, if she would do the kid event and I would do the adult tri. She rapidly replied ‘yes’. Suddenly I was in shock and it was only 5 weeks away! I felt like dying as I gasped for air across the finish line that first time, This was the start of a terrific journey and 6 years later, I competed in my first iron distance tri in North Carolina and was 2nd in my age group. Now after two knee surgeries, I’m back for my 9th Longmont Tri.
Longmont Tri Participant, Kevin Pallaoro, First Timer Athlete
About 8 month ago, I took my 3 yr old daughter to her first swim lesson and she asked why I couldn’t teach her to swim. My response sparked something in me. The reality is that I didn’t know how to swim. Three days later I signed up for masters swim and started my journey towards my first tri.
I chose Longmont since it was a pool swim and my wife works for the city I a very excited for my first ever tri and a new found love for swimming.
On a sunny Sunday in Boulder County, the 37th annual Longmont Triathlon went off without a hitch, as Longmont’s Jim Hallberg and Aurora’s Lori Walker both raced their way to victory. The course ran in and around the city’s Centennial Pool, and was graced with the participation of 268 competitors from teenagers to 75 years old.
Throughout the morning, competitors started out with a 525-yard swim, transitioned to a 12-mile bike ride, and then finished with a 5-kilometer run.
For 39-year-old, D3 Multisport coach Hallberg, who finished first overall in 55 minutes and nine seconds, the title of Best Longmont Triathlete has become familiar to him over the past three years — every year of which he’s won.
“I’ve done it the last few years, and this is a fun race,” Hallberg said. “It’s low key and a very fun beginner (race), but some people always show up, so I always try to defend my title, if you will, to keep first place. It’s good, I’m glad it’s over with.”
Despite the worsening conditions of the race course, he said he’s happy with how he performed.
“Today, my strongest event was the bike,” Hallberg said. “I’ve been fairly consistent between all three disciplines, but usually the bike is my strength. Unfortunately, the course is getting chopped up with all the traffic. There’s more and more. There’s potholes, there’s construction going around causing that, unfortunately. I know the course. I live here, so I’m very familiar with the bike route and the run one, so I know what to expect, what to avoid.”
Between 2002 and 2008, Hallberg competed in multiple Ironman races, including the World Championship in Kona, Hawaii in 2008, so to him, races like this are a little more relaxed.
Are you new to the sport of Triathlon, recovering from injuries, just getting into shape, learning how to swim, bike, and run (all together or learning a new skill), and a full sprint distance triathlon would be a bit too much? Then, the Longmont Try-a-Tri (super-sprint triathlon distance) is the right Triathlon for you to take on!
The Longmont Try-a-Tri is not about what place you finish in, it is about having fun while finishing a TRIATHLON!
Swim – 200 yards
Bike – 4.5 miles – 3x around the bike course
Run – 2K (1.2 miles) – an out and back course on the side walk and bike path