Run, don’t walk, to sign up for the 11th annual Tri Community Tri

Jon Johnson File Photo/Gila Herald: Melinda Nelson zips through the water on her way to defending her title as fastest women in the Tri Community Tri. Can Nelson three-peat? Register now to take advantage of Early Bird pricing.

Early Bird prices end Tuesday night 

By Jon Johnson

PIMA – Today, Tuesday, June 18, is the last day to get Early Bird pricing to enter the 11th annual Tri Community Tri in Pima. 

Those interested can click here to register for the event, which will be held Saturday, Sept. 21. 

Jon Johnson File Photo/Gila Herald: Kasiah Balls, 2, was the youngest competitor in the 2017 race.

Race directors Brian and Angela Paull took over the event from race originator Chérla Ramsey in 2016 after Ramsey moved to the Phoenix area. The volunteer-run event is a non-profit 501c3 and proceeds are donated toward a fitness-related purpose in the community.  

The event is a sprint distance triathlon consisting of a 425-yard swim in the Pima Pool, followed by a 15-mile bicycle ride through various elevations, and finished with a 5K (3.1-mile) jaunt through town ending near where it all began. Medals are awarded to the top-three finishers in each age bracket for male and female participants.

If the sprint distance is a still out of one’s reach, there is a mini distance that is a favorite for children as well. The mini includes a 75-yard swim, followed by a 6-mile bicycle ride and finished with a 1.5-mile run. Medals will be awarded for mini contestants under the age of 15 who finish in the top three in each age bracket for males and females.

For those who only specialize in one of the three areas, relay teams are also welcome for both the sprint and mini. Click here for more information or to register for the event. 

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: Eric Bingham took home honors as the first-place finisher overall in the men’s division for the 10th annual Tri Community Tri last year.

Last year, Thatcher resident Eric Bingham edged out Dale Oldham, of Tucson, by two seconds to place first overall. Bingham finished in 1:17:02, while Oldham – who was the fastest in the bike leg – was just behind in 1:17:04. 

It was a repeat finish in the women’s division last year as Melinda Nelson and Bonnie Richardson finished first and second, respectively, for the second year in a row, with Stephanie Summers closing out in third. Nelson finished in 1:20:23 while being pregnant in her second trimester; Richardson lost her cell phone during the bike portion and lost time retrieving the smashed device but still finished in 1:25:50, while Summers got onto the podium by finishing in 1:26:31. 

“It’s a great event,” she said. “I love that my kids can do it; I can do it. It’s a great family event and I love that you don’t have to travel to do it. And it’s really well put together. Angela does a great job.”

Tri Community Tri 2018 Video By Jon Johnson/Gila Herald

In the relay division, “The Procrastinators” team of Rebecca Johnson and Jessica Medlin edged out “Can’t Stop This” for first-place honors in a time of 1:31:06.

In the Mini, Carden Richardson finished first overall for the boys in 42:44, followed by Kevin Martin in 43:56 and Charles Richardson in 45:27, who just edged out fourth-place finisher Jackson Paull, who finished in 45:30.

On the girls’ side, Avery Bingham took home first-place overall honors with a time of 46:36, followed by Kamea Nelson in 53:46 and Lee McCall in 56:50. 

Tri Community Tri 2017 Video By Jon Johnson/Gila Herald

Many of the out-of-town competitors commented on the course and how they appreciated the rural setting because they were not bothered or interrupted by the traffic congestion they see in events in bigger municipalities.

“(Out of) sprint triathlons it’s one of my tops,” Oldham said. “Probably (the) second best I’ve ever done.” 

A photo album of last year’s event can be seen by clicking here.

Jon Johnson File Photo/Gila Herald: Scott Bennett makes his way on the bike during the 2017 event.
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