The 22nd annual Mattapoisett Triathlon began under a very low, dark ceiling that pressed the still humid air down hard on the athletes and spectators gathered at Town Beach.
But in spite of the oppressive weather, spirits were high, and energy sparkled everywhere. The undaunted participants ranged in age from 10 to … let’s just say seasoned. Many of those ready to test their bodies and minds against the course were not first timers.
Some participated as individual entries, while others were enthusiastic relay teams made up of family and friends.
Still others were doing the hard work to honor those who could not or for worthy causes. Whatever their motivation might have been, they came prepared to do their best.
The mean low tide was viewed differently from person to person, some believing a shorter swim would work in their favor. But most thought having to slog through yards of thigh-high sea water would be too physically draining.
In the end, every aspect of the course would test body against mind, spirit against muscular discomfort, and real perseverance against wishful thinking.
Individual men entered the water first, followed 10 minutes later by women and finally the relay members.
The swim portion was .25 miles, the bike ride 10 miles, and lastly the three-mile run.
#391 Kathy Lopes of Fairhaven was present for her 22 time saying that every aspect for her would be a challenge. Lopes was also running on behave of Homes for Our Troops, which aids veterans in securing housing.
Don Cuddy age 60 #392 also of Fairhaven and active member of the New Bedford Track Club said he’d be using a “wing and a prayer” to get him through his eighth time in the event.
“I support the Lions Club,” Cuddy said. “You know where your donation is going.”
Mother of four Beth Olivera of Mattapoisett #333 was there for the fun.
The Marcovici family, Mom Andrea, sons Leighton, age 13, and Hunter, age 10, were doing it as a relay team. Hunt swam, his brother biked, and Mom ran the last leg.
“We do this to stay focused on exercise,” Andrea said.
Tom Giammalvo, whose family have a home in Mattapoisett, said he hoped to do well, but this was his first time doing this event. He has previously done the New Bedford and Falmouth triathlons with the latter of those two having been completed just yesterday.
#312 Mark LaPlante of Acushnet has entered this event at least 10 times, saying the swim would be the hardest part. His motivation is simply fun and fitness.
Then there were the Foleys: mom Janice; Bill the dad; and daughters, Carolyn, age 17, and Elizabeth, age 14. They were a relay team.
Sarah Rasar of Taunton was part of a relay team – Team Awesome – doing the swim a mere 10 weeks since giving birth to Saddie.
#362 Marielle Yost and her daughters – Stephanie, 18, and Elyse, 21 – are visiting from Gloucester, and mom has done the race 15 previous seasons.
Rochester’s Debra Holden #366 and her partner, the well-known Meg Hughes, 11, were also giving their all for “homes for our troops.”
At the end of the hot humid event, the athletes were still displaying true grit.
Chris Phenix #335 said “the direct sun stayed away just long enough”; and finally #350 Tammy Swift who also completed the Falmouth Triathlon yesterday, exclaimed, “I loved it!”
For the full results, see www.coolrunning.com/results/13/ma/Jul14_Mattap_set1.shtml.
By Marilou Newell