Tri Community Tri race to be held in September

Jon Johnson File Photo/Gila Herald: The Tri Community Tri will be Sept. 22 this year. Rebecca Johnson breezes through the water during last year’s contest.

By Jon Johnson

PIMA – For those who have been bicycling, running, and swimming in anticipation for the 10th annual Tri Community Tri, your wait is almost done.

This year, the event will take place Sept. 22 in Pima with a start time of 7 a.m., so register for the event now.

Jon Johnson File Photo/Gila Herald: Scott Bennett makes his way on the bike during last year’s event.

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.

Jon Johnson File Photo/Gila Herald: The triathlon is a family event. Pictured are some members of the Peterson family, from left, Briggs, Andy, Michele, and Brittlee Peterson, who all competed in the triathlon.

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

Last year, a total of 98 racers were timed by CEP Timing, whose owner/operator Jason Kornetsky praised the smooth operation.

“The triathlon was put on very well,” Kornetsky said. “We do 50 a year and this was set up and directed as well as any of the others . . . For a small triathlon, this was perfect, and it came off well.”

Jon Johnson File Photo/Gila Herald: Tri Community Tri race directors Brian and Angela Paull invite the public to come out and have some fun while getting in some exercise. Who has bragging rights in your family?

First-time triathlon competitor John Miller, of Tempe, took first place overall in the men’s division last year, with a  time of 1:23:48 – and did so on a single-speed, fixed-gear bicycle. It was a very competitive race, with second place going to Tony Wolff at 1:24:52 and third place to J. Brown at 1:28:20. 

Miller, who grew up in Safford, said his uncle, Duane DeSpain, encouraged him to try it out and now he is hooked. Miller works as a personal trainer and was in good shape for the event but only had a couple of weeks to train.

“He convinced me I should try it out,” Miller said. “I was (going to be) in town for the weekend and figured (I) might as well . . . The run was definitely the hardest because I hate running. And then my quads started cramping up like halfway through, but I was able to push through, so it was good . . . My only goal was to beat Duane.”

Jon Johnson File Photo/Gila Herald: Duane DeSpain, left, hams it up with last year’s winner, his nephew, John Miller.

Brian and Angela Paull serve as race directors for the event and took over for race originator Chérla Ramsey in 2016 after Ramsey moved to the Phoenix area. While it was an accomplishment to even have the race on such short notice that year, the Paulls have extended on building the event back toward its former glory. Everyone who works to make the race happen, including the Paulls, are volunteers and proceeds go toward a fitness-related purpose in the community. Recently, the Tri Community Tri announced they are now officially a nonprofit organization. Click here for more information and links to bike and run routes.

Below is a video report from the 2017 event.