Buckeye Lake hosting women’s triathlon
LANCASTER – Lancaster resident Joyce Guenther said “insanity” might be motivating her to participate in the Trek Women’s Triathlon at Buckeye Lake July 25, but she feels prepared.
“It’s going to be a party,” said Guenther, who plans to complete the swimming, running, and cycling combined event with her 19-year-old daughter Catherine and Guenther’s best friend from high school, Cheryl Craver.
Guenther said she joined her local YMCA to train for the swimming portion of the triathlon. She tries to run a couple 5K events per month, and she just finished a multi-state trip with her husband where they board a train with their bicycles to desirable cycling destinations. “It’s a cool way to take a vacation,” said Guenther.
Guenther and Craver participated in the Little Miami Triathlon—a canoe, run, and bike race—in 2007 when they both turned 50, but this will be the first time Guenther will have participated in a swimming, running, and cycling triathlon, which may prove more challenging.
Challenging, yes, but far from impossible, said Maggie Sullivan, triathlon director and a member of Xxtra Mile, LLC, a women’s and girls’ active lifestyle company and owner of the Trek Women Triathlon Series. The triathlon includes a half-mile swim, 12-mile bike ride, and a 3.1-mile run.
“No one’s not finishing,” said Sullivan. “We don’t target the most talented and most fit. We literally have a 100 percent completion rate.” Sullivan attributes some of the athletes’ success to Chief Inspiration Officer Sally Edwards, a Hall of Fame triathlete who will encourage participants in the Buckeye Lake event. “She’s a legend in the sport,” said Sullivan. “She has the ability to communicate as if she’s your best friend.”
Sullivan has directed women’s triathlons for roughly 20 years and believes a triathlon is best when it’s gender specific, as opposed to co-ed. “Women have a much higher comfort level when it’s gender specific,” she said.
Traditionally, triathlons were male-based and the spirit of competition between male and female athletes differs. “Men will plow over each other to get into the water,” she said. Then it’s every man for himself through the rest of the course. Sullivan said women are more nurturing in general and support each other as they compete. “There’s lots of high-fiving,” she said. “Especially the first time they do it. It’s something that’s ‘me’ focused without feeling guilty about it. It can be tricky to get women to put themselves first.” Sullivan said the participants’ children are always very supportive of their mothers. Women can opt to divide the event like a relay race, she said.
Sullivan said the race is a charity event benefiting local and national programs such as ‘Team Survivor,” a nonprofit organization for women who have a present or past diagnosis of cancer. The Trek Women Triathlon Series is an Official Partner of Team Survivor, which provides these women with free group exercise, health education classes and support programs. Trek Women Triathlon Series and Team Survivor allow women in the program to train, receive complimentary race registration for their first triathlon, and benefit from special race day support. Sullivan said locally the race will benefit the Licking County Food Pantry and the Center for New Beginnings.
“It’s not too late to enter,” said Sullivan. “The payoff for the women is enormous. It’s like changing for them.”
More information about the race is available at www.trekwomenstriathlonseries. com.
Guenther feels blessed that she, her daughter, and Craver can compete. “We’re glad we’re in our 50s and we’re in good health,” she said.