WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR BASE, Ohio – The 88th Force Support Squadron hosted a sprint triathlon on September 11 as the final event of a summer “Build-Up” series on base.
The series finale was dedicated to all those who lost their lives 20 years ago in the terrorist attacks of September 11. Participants completed a 750 yard swim, 20 km bike ride and 5 km run.
Justin Becker finished first overall with a time of 1 hour, 2 minutes, 19 seconds. The female winner was Brook Chilton, who arrived at 1:09:41.
“This event is part of our ‘Build-Up’ series,” said Kevin Ball, 88 FSS Fitness and Sports Manager. “From June to September, we gradually increase the number of different events to prepare for the sprint triathlon. “
This summer, grassroots fitness and sports officials also hosted a mini sprint triathlon, splash and dash (swim and run), and duathlon (run and bike).
The purpose of the sprint triathlon was twofold: to remember and a way for people to be, or stay, healthy and fit.
“We have a lot of people who are interested in triathlons,” said Ball. “It could also be used as training for some if they wanted to compete in the Air Force marathon.”
Fitness staff planned the event well in advance to help commemorate the 20th anniversary of September 11.
“We were really delighted to host this day because it means something to a lot of us,” he said. “That day changed my life forever, since I was in the Marine Corps and activated in the infantry and ended up supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. We will always be remembrance and wanting to commemorate it with this event. “
For participants like 1st Lt. Elizabeth Beaty, a flight nurse assigned to the 36th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, the sprint triathlon was all about resilience.
“It’s a great sport and it helps you overcome a lot of physical and mental stresses, as well as persevere and maintain resilience,” said Beaty. “I encourage everyone from all walks of life to experience something like this.”
When planning the event, the fitness and athletic staff kept COVID-19 protocols in mind to ensure the safety of participants.
“COVID mitigation was already planned because you have heat,” Ball said. “We just did smaller sets, spread people out in the pool and when people were running or riding their bikes, there are usually big gaps between them.”