By Richard Campbell
The 10th annual Boston Triathlon returned to Carson Beach generating its trademark excitement for spectators and participants alike, bringing thousands to South Boston. In a reversal of last year’s event, the third annual Kid’s Day this past Saturday was blessed with sunny skies and almost ideal weather, whereas the adult main event on Sunday was forced to forgo the Olympic 1.5k Swim because of stormy weather and a small craft weather warning by harbor officials. The choppy water aside, a little rain did not impede the Olympic run through Moakley Park or the Olympic cycle around Day Boulevard.
Organized by ethos– the Boston Triathlon is primarily sponsored by the international Columbia Threadneedle Investments, with partnership support by Boston Medical Center. Hosted at Carson Beach by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, and the city of Boston, the event demonstrates Boston’s ability to pull off complex happenings. Though the spectator crowd might have been a little bit smaller due to the weather, the roughly 2,000 athletes in successive waves were supported by plenty of family and friends. The Kid’s participation was up among Bostonians, which was once again organized with skill by veteran racer and Boston Triathlon staffer, Karen Smyers. Local politicians from Mayor Martin Walsh to City Councilor Ed Flynn showed up to support the event and check in on operations. Congressman Stephen Lynch finished the race with a respectable time of 2:47:40 casually blending in with the racers. With the swimming missing it changed the dynamic of the event- the result being athletes seemed to be less fatigued compared to last year.
Michael O’Neil, Event Director and ethos president, opened the adult event early announcing the change of plans to the athletes, and gave inspirational words, thanking the volunteers and staff before athletes assembled on Carson beach for the early morning 2K run. I described this event last year as being like a cross between the Olympics and a school reunion- and that was ever more so this year. The winner of the Men’s elite triathlon category, 2016 Olympian Ben Kanute, age 26 of Phoenix was a shoe-in with a total time of 1:29:08 as he crossed the finish line like he had just taken an afternoon stroll. Second place in the Men’s elite division was Matthew Alford age 30 of Coventry Rhode Island at 1:30:43 was close on his heels, and Spencer Ralston, age 23 of Hebron CT, nailed third with a time at 1:30:50. Once again, the general humility of these guys would be a lesson for many over-paid professional athletes in other sports.
Angela Naeth, age 36, and the 2015 North American Ironman Champion, of Boulder Colorado took first place in the women’s division, with a total time of 1:43:03, with Kim Webster, age 42, of Framingham taking second place at 1:44:02, and third place Sonja Kent, age 26, also from Framingham coming close in at third with a time of 1:44:51. Sonja missed her swim dearly as that is her strong suit but did not need consoling on her finish! The women keep moving the needle closer to the men. There is a special bond between the women athletes, as they are trailblazers in this event, and round out clubs with a certain egalitarian spirit. This is becoming more of an international event, participants came from 42 states and 5 nations, drawing people from far away as China and Australia- building upon the Boston reputation in both amateur and professional athletics.
The third annual USA-Triathlon Kids Splash-and-Dash event for athletes ages 7-15 and the Kids Fun Run for all athletes under the age of 7, went off without a hitch. Some of the kids showed up this year owning the race- eager to dive in without the trepidation of swimming in the cold last year. In the Kids Splash and Dash 7-8 Boys Category Connor Swanson, age 8, of Newton won 1st place with a time of 7:31, followed closely by Dalu Nwazojie, at 7:38, and Harry Jones at 7:39. For the girls, Alyssa Gu showed hot contention with her first-place time of 7:39, followed by Vivienne Dupere, for second place at 7:58, and Elina Gloor at 8:14 for third place finish. In age group 9-10, the girls shined, with Eleanor Allan, from Cambridge, taking first with a time of 6:44, in second, Riana Gloor, at 6;59, and Newton’s Adele Dupere in at third with a time of 7:54. In the 11-12 year old category Robin Gloor took first with a time of 10:15, Hazel Mouhidin took second with a time of 10:51, Jarlath Meenan pulled third at 11:41. In the age 13-15 category Will Cronin of Waban took first a time of 11:55, Alex Shub of Marblehead, took second place with seemingly the same time, and Nicole Jo of Tewksbury took third with a time of 12:15.
The Boston Medical Center team was on hand, supporting their team of 150 and the fight against the opioid epidemic, with athletes raising $75,000 in funds towards their goal of $100,000. “It’s inspiring to see so many people come together, pushing themselves physically and emotionally, and helping raise funds and awareness for addiction. Many thanks to all of the participants, volunteers and friends and families who made this event successful. Columbia Threadneedle is honored to take part in such a great event,” said Ted Truscott, chief executive officer of title sponsor Columbia Threadneedle Investments, who also ran sporting bib number 1. You could see the Threadneedle contingent cheering on their athletes to the very end of the event, and their volunteers were off the charts: gatekeeping, brandishing medals, drinks and supplies, and cheering on the athletes.
There were some clever vendors, serving coffee, energy bars, water and hydration drinks, and soothing runner’s legs with exercise recovery chairs. Kids and adults got into the free pizza and ice cream, as well as food trucks. There were surprisingly very few injuries despite the slippery weather, according to Boston EMS and Boston police coordinating operations with the DCR. Inside the Thread Needle tent was a buzz after the race as the rain kept on throughout the afternoon finally cleared up. You can see by the photos herein that a little rain didn’t stop these athletes who are looking forward to next year’s event. After ten years, the Boston Triathlon distinguished itself for its smooth operations, friendly competition, and esprit des corps. For more information on times, standings, and event details go to: http://www.bostontri.com/. For information on addiction and resources for help see the Boston Medical site at: https://www.bmc.org/addiction-medicine.