We had the third annual Just-Tri-It triathlon the first Saturday in June and it sure feels good to be at the “third annual”. I remember telling you a couple years ago about the advent of the event and calling it the first annual, which, as we know from seeing many events come and go over the years, could be construed as a bit brazen in assuming it would become an annual event. That’s ancient history now as the triathlon has become accepted and looked forward to by a number of individuals and teams each year. The brainchild of our head fitness technician Tia, she organizes the whole thing and with the assistance of many volunteers makes it a reality for those brave of heart souls that like to swim, bike and run really hard for like an hour and a half.
This year we were up about 12 participants from 2013 but the interesting thing is there were less individual participants and an increase to 16 teams from 11 the year before. That’s the neat thing we are seeing — it has become less of an elite athlete sport and more a team experience with a wide range of ages and abilities scattered throughout, typified by one team whose swimmer was 80 years old ( and still swims faster than me). Many people performed on a team with the hope that they will possibly do it on their own in upcoming years. The camaraderie and support the participants and volunteers provide to each other is also really great to experience.
I’m all about the volunteers, though — the ones that have no vested interest in the event other than to make sure the participants have a memorable experience. As I drove volunteer Mike and his two sons to the viewpoint and their checkpoint for the bikers, he reminded me of the memorable quote from the movie Grease when Principal McGee stated, “If you can’t be an athlete, be an athletic supporter.” Wise words, as we had many people all over the course timing, checking, directing and providing first aid. My particular part is setting up cones and signage for the bikers on the highway portion, as well as constantly monitoring the participants throughout that portion. I generally drive with flashers on and my very own flashing orange beacon making motorists aware that there is an event going on and to slow down a notch or two and pay attention.
Nothing is easy, however, and my own personal challenges this year included a devastating blow to my prestige when the light bulb burnt out on my very own flashing orange beacon plus the signage debacle. We normally put out a number of mileage markers and triathlon signs along the highway on orange cones but who knew that everyone in Creston was having a garage sale that day, placing equally as garish signs to compete with the view? The crowning touch was when I noticed the seafood dude adding to the mix with all the signs announcing the sale of cod fillets and black prawns, causing me to realize the only thing missing from the cornucopia of notices was a few Burma-Shave signs. Oh well — it all turned out great: the weather was fantastic and a good time was had by all. Mark it on your calendar for next year.
Neil Ostafichuk is the recreation supervisor at the Creston and District Community Complex.