Almost 1,000 participants chose to compete in the Chattanooga Waterfront Triathlon on Sunday. Some excelled in swimming, others in cycling as well as those who are running specialists. Most had aspirations of winning the event, or at least competing at a high level.
Only one person could be last, but luckily, Ryan Davis already had that part covered.
Davis, a Johnson City native, was the Designated Last Place Finisher of the Event, which was won on the men’s side by 24-year old Tyler Jordan, who finished in 2:07.07. Kirsten Sass was the girls’ champ, finishing in 2:10.57.
Jordan defeated Eric Cross, who is 41, by three seconds, while Sass’s edge over Deanna Newman was almost seven seconds. Jordan ran collegiately at North Georgia College and State University, while Sass currently coaches the triathlon team at Bethel College in McKenzie.
Recent East Hamilton graduate Zach McCormick won the 16-19 division, finishing in 2:19.35. Former Hurricane teammate Justin Clark finished second.
Davis, who competes in triathlons himself, had the job of hanging close to the back of each event, overseeing and keeping a watchful eye to make sure competitors weren’t laboring too much in 100-degree heat on Sunday.
“The leaders were flying,” he said. “By the time I finished with the swim part, some were already done with the biking. It was good to see everybody have a good day, especially with it being so hot outside.”
He noted that volunteering for the “DLPF” role takes away any and all pressures from competing in the event.
“It’s a nice day out, and there’s no pressure,” he siad. “Usually this is one of the toughest things they’ll do, so to see their smile as they cross that finish line is worth it. I have fun talking to the people during the competition; last year it was a lady that had recently lost 150 pounds and she was rewarding herself by competing and having a good time. This year it was a 20-year kid that was talking about how this was the hardest thing he’d ever done.”
Co-race director Sherilyn Johnson said that the recent heat wave might have been the cause for smaller numbers during Sunday’s competition. Race numbers at the start were slightly over 900, down from previous years.
“We didn’t sell out, which was a first in a while,” she said. “I’m not sure exactly why that was the case. It’s the second Sunday in July, which happens to be right after the Fourth of July this year. Maybe it was the economy, or maybe it was because triathlons are a more popular sport [in other places] now.
“We did have over 400 volunteers this year, and it was a complete and total team effort. They worked hard, and this wouldn’t have been possible without them.”
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