Students surpass goal for half ironman triathlon

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Quinton Wiltbank does his best during the first third of a half Ironman Triathlon on May 20. Along with Tyler Lewis, the two completed their event in 12 hours, swimming for 40 minutes in the Morenci community pool, plus riding bicycles for over seven hours and running for four hours throughout the Clifton – Morenci area.

By Raymundo Frasquillo

MORENCI – There were no throngs of well-wishers, a marching band, or fireworks filling the sky when the physical and mentally challenging task was completed. Only a lone mother awaiting her son and friends’ returnto the starting point, armed with sandwiches and bottled water.

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Tyler Lewis was “up for the challenge,” of completing a half Ironman Triathlon. Along with Quinton Wiltbank, the two Morenci Class of 2023 members surpassed their goal of raising #1,000 for the Saint Jude Children’s Hospital in Tucson.

Twelve hours after staring, Morenci Class of 2023 members Tyler Lewis and Quinton Wiltbank’s excellent adventure was completed. They started at 9 a.m. and finished at 9 p.m. They may have wanted to, but did not have the energy remaining to run up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Modern Arts, ala Rocky Balboa.

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Quinton Wiltbank rode up and down grades during a half Ironman Triathlon. The course included traveling on several streets and roadsthroughout the Clifton – Morenci area.

Their rest was another consecutive 12 hours, cutting into the next day, and the sun was high in the sky by the time they saw it.

The soon to be Morenci High alums ran half an Ironman Triathlon to raise funding for Saint Jude Children’s Hospital in Tucson on May 20. Their goal of raising $1,000 was exceeded before either of them set foot in the water. A total of $1,155 was raised. The thought it would be an annual event was mentioned, but not finalized.

The swim portion took 40 minutes in the community pool. The bicycle ride lasted over seven hours and the run four hours, both throughout the Clifton – Morenci area.

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: A hand signal is used by Tyler Lewis as he approaches an intersection. It was the second phase of a half ironman triathlon.

Early in the week, the pair had a handful of volunteers agreeing to help with hydration points for the bike and run portions.

The pair had been staying in shape throughout the year by riding their bikes. Each earned multiple varsity letters in athletics, both played in the school marching band for four years, and were accomplished academically. Lewis participated on the school track team and Wiltbank on the tennis team this Spring, and both were on the swim (Fall) and soccer (Winter) teams earlier in the school year.

Lewis and Wiltbank both took part in the high school baccalaureate ceremony the next day and graduation six days later.

How proud are the parents, seeing values they tried to instill in their children, put to use at their age, by them wanting to help others?

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Quinton Wiltbank, middle, and Tyler Lewis, right, are guided by James Pursley, left, as they begin the final third of their half ironman triathlon, a run on May 20.