By Scott Prater
Schriever athletes showed up in force for the Schriever Triathlon Friday, as more than 60 competitors swam 400 meters, biked 12 miles and ran 3.1 miles in the three-stage event.
Dan Bar claimed the overall title, finishing in 1 hour, 10 minutes, 30 seconds. But Bar had more than one cause for celebration at the end of the day as his wife Clare Bar was the first female across the finish line in 1:20:43.
Race organizer, Seth Cannello, Schriever sports and fitness manager, normally caps participation at 40 racers, but agreed to expand the field for this year’s event after Lt. Col. Clif Stargardt from the 379th Space Range Squadron asked if he could enroll six three-person teams in the event.
“I also had some competitors on a waitlist so we added another heat,” Cannello said. “The biggest success, however, was the overwhelming support we received from our volunteers. I made a last-minute request in the base bulletin for help and ended having to turn people away because the response was so good.”
Dan Bar, a veteran marathoner, said he didn’t train for this specific event, but swimming every week definitely helped his performance.
“My flight swims together every Friday and I’m a regular runner so all I had to do was tie in the bike,” he said. “The bike I used was pretty rough. I bought it a couple of weeks ago for $25.”
Fittingly, the bike leg proved toughest for Bar, but he made up time by cycling in his running shoes.
“I haven’t biked for awhile,” Bar said. “I just followed a guy who started a heat in front of me. I could tell he was really fast on the bike, so I paced myself off of him. At the end of the cycling stage, he stopped to change into cycling shoes, whereas, I just ditched my bike and started running.”
Schriever’s 2013 The Murph champion, Sam Bessinger, took runner up honors, finishing just more than two minutes behind in 1:12:42.
“I felt good about my finish,” he said. “I only started training for this event about three weeks ago. That’s one of the great things about these events, they provide motivation for training. I think if you don’t have something like this and other on-base sporting events like intramural sports, training can get boring. These events help provide a goal.”
Rob Ladewig, a 65-year old triathlon veteran, finished in 1:30.15. He used the Schriever Triathlon as a warmup event for a triathlon he’s running in Boulder, Colo., Sunday.
“It was nice to see so many people competiting,” he said. “That’s indicative of the type of event the fitness center folks put on here and it also shows how much of a growing sport that triathlon is. Compared to other triathlons, this one has a lot of advantages. It’s the perfect venue for beginners because it’s well organized, has a casual atmosphere and there’s no entry fee. A race like this in town would cost probably $60 to $80.”
Cannello said there was no way the event could have turned out so well without its 22 volunteers.
“This is the ninth edition of the Schriever Triathlon and it went pretty smoothly, thanks to our volunteers,” he said. “They started by registering participants, guarded roads, directed participants to the correct locations, handed out food and counted laps for swimmers. Most importantly, they provided safety for the competitors.”