by Shannon Colin
By five in the morning on Sunday, February 19th, while most of UC San Diego was still in a deep slumber, the UCSD triathlon team was directing traffic onto Fiesta Island and marking the bodies of 248 triathletes with race numbers before the seven o’clock start time. From the superior race organization to the successful follow-through for sustainability, Tritonman was a huge success.
The Tritonman race course was graced by clear skies. Mission Bay was a biting fifty-eight degrees, which provided a chilly but exhilarating 500 meter swim. Though participants’ wetsuits fared well against the cold, they did not stop the waters from wrapping themselves around our unprotected feet, causing them to go numb before the run. The bike route, three loops around Fiesta Island and a solid twelve miles, was relatively flat and unbumpy, allowing for quick speeds and high cadence for the entire split. The run course was placed along the uneven and sandy beach, making the final split the most challenging and rewarding portion of the race.
Fourteen women and men on the UCSD team competed and finished strongly. Team captain Bill Jones finished second with a time of fifty-three minutes. In that, Jones’s time splits were stellar—he completed the swim in five minutes and sixteen seconds alone. Daniel Heineck was our next athlete to complete the race in fifty-six minutes and twelve seconds. Dan Nguyen, Brooks Taylor, Chris Steinke, Jeff Engel, and Jon Hughes all finished under or around one hour. Kat Ellis was our first female to finish, coming in at one hour and three minutes, with a solid run split of only twenty-one minutes and ten seconds. Gina Horath was close behind Ellis, finishing in one hour and four minutes. Also to complete the race from UCSD’s women were Joanna Coker, Kerri Fullam, Lauren McQuinn, Ellen Bruno, and Shannon Colin. Fullam and McQuinn came head-to-head, completing the race within only six seconds of each other. Racing Tritonman inspired a particular sense of urgency in UCSD participants because every one of our teammates was somewhere along the race course cheering us on. The fervor felt from that support was a huge driving force in completing the race quickly.
Team members completed a host of volunteer jobs to make Tritonman run efficiently, including registration tabling, sponsorship coordination, an aid station, timing, and transition set-up. Although each group contributed a different level of professionalism and punctuality to the race, the two stand-out teams were those in charge of food and trash collection. After race participants completed their last leg on the beach run course and made their way through the finish line, they were greeted by the welcoming colors of fresh fruit, trail mix, and baguettes. The food station, overflowing with abundant fruit from a local orchard in Escondido, had race-worn triathletes juggling entire boxes of strawberries and handfuls of the freshest and most deliciously juicy tangerines in the world.
The green team and the trash committee, in charge of keeping Tritonman sustainable, worked to divert as much waste as possible. At the race’s end, these committees organized the various trash bins into landfill, compost, and recycling. In total, the team collected 138.4 pounds of trash, of which only 13.6 pounds, or 9.8% of the total trash, went to the landfill. 68.6 pounds of recycling and 54 pounds of compost later, the team upheld its mission to race sustainably by earning the ReSport silver certificate, an achievement that recognizes teams for putting on socially and environmentally responsible sporting events.
Overall, Tritonman was an excellent accomplishment. From the enthusiastic support of all the tri-team members on the sidelines as competitors sped by, to the worker-ant-quality of the race clean-up, the entire event had a lot of positive energy and solid follow-through. Next on our list: UCLA and then Conference!