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The Triathlon

2012 September 18

By Amy Miller

This may sound like bragging – I ran a triathlon last week – but it’s not. Why not? Because I am as slow as molasses. I look like I should be fast, being tall and all, but believe me, I am not. And so I know that YOU can run a triathlon too. Now in its seventh year, the Pumpkinman has become popular for people from across New England. But more exciting, it has become a thing to do in our own town. People who have never run a race find themselves training alongside neighbors who have also never run a race. And lo and behold they all finish.

Psychologists in the field of health and fitness have been saying recently that research shows exercise could be better encouraged by emphasizing the day to day rewards instead of the eventual weight loss or years added to your life. The truth is, most of us are motivated by the here and now. And let me tell you, there is little better to brighten up your day, even your week, than spending under two hours competing in a triathlon.

Two community members decided to create this event. And it’s simply beautiful. The swim is in a private pond, one of the few triathlons based on private land. The bike goes through the rural hinterlands of South Berwick, passing near the Agamenticus conservation area. And the run is a loop that skirts some of the town’s remaining farmland.

Saturday is the sprint – one third mile swim, 14-mile bike and three-mile run. This year 35 people from my town showed up to race that morning. Sunday is reserved for tri-athletes who can manage a half iron-man triathlon: a 1.2-mile swim; 56-mile bike and 13.1-mile run. Nearly 600 people come to town to compete. But even Sunday is a community event as dozens of school kids, parents, families and athletes get up at 3, 5 or 7 am to staff a water station on Pond Road, hold a flag at the corner of Lebanon Road, or mark number s on the legs of athletes.

And there are the local heroes. Like the elementary school principal who competes both days. He considers his participation an important part of role modeling for the hundreds of fourth and fifth graders who go through his school each year.

OK, I’ll confess. It takes me just under two hours. Twelves seconds under. I told you I’m slow. But I still feel good the rest of the day.

About the author: Amy Miller is a writer who works in the public affairs office of EPA New England in Boston. She lives in Maine with her husband, two children, seven chickens, two parakeets, dog and a great community.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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7 Responses leave one →
  1. Arman.- permalink
    September 18, 2012

    EPA : The Sprinter.-

    I impressed to watch global situation which rolling fastest with much issues, including the environmental problem. It seems interested for the people who care and share on saving the world, but they don’t ready with infra and supra structures, excepting EPA. What next……?

  2. Anonymous permalink
    September 18, 2012

    Wonderful Story, Mahalo for sharing.

  3. Sharon Trull permalink
    September 18, 2012

    Amy, great story!! You are just wonderful. Thanks for all your kind and supportive words to myself and many other community members. It truly is a fun event with so much support!

  4. Elizabeth Myer permalink
    September 18, 2012

    Hi Amy. Nice to see more EPA-folk doing tri’s. FYI, “triathlon” is spelled without an ‘a’.

  5. christian permalink
    September 19, 2012

    Triathalon, good article, thank you for sharing the information.

  6. Laura permalink
    September 19, 2012

    Amy: Thanks for an inspiring blog! In 2011, about 15 people in our Division joined the EPA Race Around the Regions. Two of us have since lost over 50 lbs, several lost between 25 – 30, and many others started walking regularly. None of us really focused on the weight loss, we started it as a way to support one another in doing something healthy for ourselves…every day…and the benefits have been tremendous. My next fitness goal is run a 5K….and I mean run the whole thing….but after that I think I’ll set my sights on a triathlon. Laura from OW ;-)

  7. john permalink
    August 12, 2013

    very cool. I’m getting ready too. vejp many tips

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