JB Tobin’s Breakaway Athletic Events Company Thriving in Ft. Collins

Bill Plock

JB Tobin started Breakaway Athletic Events in 2018 and has built a nice group of multisport and running events in Northern Colorado. Last year with very few triathlons, Larimer county granted JB permission to hold his events that culminated with Last Call Triathlon at Boyd Lake in late September. There, the infamous Iron Nun, a.k.a. Sister Madonna Buder traveled from Oregon to do this race along with some hopeful para olympians from Colorado Springs. (303 story here: https://303triathlon.com/sister-madonna-para-triathletes-hola-and-chilton-bring-the-house-down-at-last-call-triathlon-in-loveland/)

The Last Call Triathlon was Epic, which just happens to be the name of Breakaway’s first triathlon of the season, Epic Mini in Ft. Collins on May 30th. This is a great opening season event and particularly attractive with its pool swim for new triathletes. More info go here: https://breakawayathleticevents.com/epic-mini-triathlon/

Sister Madonna and JB Tobin

We decided to catch up with JB and learn more about his company and what’s happening in 2021

  1. Talk about the original vision and where’s it at today and what is new in 2021? 

We’ve always been focused on unique events that are beginner friendly, supportive and inviting. Our original vision was to bring more races to the northern Colorado area (especially for the sport of triathlon) and to date we’ve achieved that with two new triathlon events that the community has really embraced – The Epic Mini Tri & The Last Call Tri.

For 2021 we added a brand new spring time running event that just took place on April 18th. The NoCo Half Marathon & 10K. Traditional distances done on a non traditional course. Boyd Lake State Park played host to this race and we had athletes able to run on the vehicle roads, pedestrian pathways and two unique off road sections with one hitting the beach a little bit! It was a great morning that was well received by everyone that came out. We look forward to growing it next year.

303’s Rich Soares with vegetarian breakfast at the Epic Mini

2. What have you learned, loved and maybe not loved over the past three years?

I’ve learned that as a Race Director I have to trust myself a bit more when it comes to planning & prep for a race. At times I tend to over think and over stress on details which end up being minuet on race day. I’ve loved stepping up my graphic design game and coming up with some really fun medals. 

3. 2020 was a challenging year, obviously, tell us how you navigated it and what your learned.

I put in a lot of hard work alongside a great community with Larimer County, the Colorado State Parks (and their rangers) and the City of Fort Collins to make magic happen. Race days came down to approval based on logical information and strong communication between myself and the permitting agencies and venues. It was a win without a doubt. 

The Last Call Tri in September of 2020 at Boyd Lake was great. It was one of (if not the only) open water triathlon in the entire Front Range for the season. We had lots of athletes race with us including the Iron Nun, local Air Force Cadets and the USA Para-Olympic athletes. It was electric all around as 303 Triathlon had described it at the time.

4. Talk about the community of Ft. Collins and Northern Colorado and how they work with you to succeed

The athlete community in Ft Collins and Northern Colorado are very supportive. They always embrace a good event with positive attitudes and great feedback. It’s been awesome to connect with them more and more over the past two years as events grow in the area.

5. What long term fun events are you considering in the next few years if anything? 

For 2022 there’s another multisport event in the works. Without sharing too much, think small course route with lots of speed and very high energy. If all goes to plan it will be right here in NOCO ☺

6. What do you feel makes Breakaway Athletic Events special and unique? 

This is a tough one to answer. There are a bunch of things I think that make Breakaway unique. I’ll bullet point them below.

  • 100% plant based aid stations & post race meals
  • Unique race distances
  • A great team of staff members
  • Our attention to detail (even if we don’t bring them all to light on race days)
  • The smiles and high fives 

Sister Madonna, Para Triathletes, Hola and Chilton Bring the House Down at Last Call Triathlon in Loveland

By Bill Plock

About 30 minutes before the Last Call Triathlon started, a cold wind blew in from the North, tossing tents, paddle boards and casting a little doubt on what kind of day it might become. Instead, the day turned into one of the most inspirational and electric days seen at a sprint triathlon in quite some time. 

Melissa Stockwell

USA Triathlon sent some of their para olympic and olympic hopeful athletes to compete. As an added bonus one of them, Kyle Coon was guided by Olympian Andy Potts and came in 11th overall.  Melissa Stockwell, Kendall Gretsch, Hailey Danisewicz also competed for team USA.

Tim Hola with Rich Soares before the Race

In a close mens race, Tim Hola beat Scott Tonder by 10 seconds with Gabe Fels coming in third just 21 seconds later. For the women Brook Chilton won by 93 seconds over Maricarmen Farias and Megan Doherty was third a little under two minutes back. 

Brook Chilton, Maricarmen Farias, Megan Doherty

But perhaps the story of the day was 79 years separating the youngest athlete from the oldest. Lilah Bohm is 11 years old and Sister Madonna Buder crossed the line at 90 years young. 

That cold wind nearly kept Sister Madonna from finishing and after taking some time to warm up after the chilly swim she finished the race. Sister Madonna has completed 45 IRONMAN’s including 22 trips to Kona for the World Championships. In an interview before the race Sister Madonna shared how doing a triathlon is a way to “be part of God’s gift of the beautiful outdoors.”  

Sister with Race Director JB Tobin

She stuck around signing autographs and her nephew, Mitch Galligan from Denver coming to watch her race for the first time, said, “seeing the community and how people respond to her, she has always been an inspiration in the family, but it really makes it a reality seeing this out here today, it’s pretty cool!”

Much more to come on Sister Madonna and her exclusive interview with 303 prior to the race. 

For all race results please go HERE

Video Interview with Kyle Coon and Andy Potts