More than 240 competitors ran in the first Rex Wellness Center sprint triathlon in Garner Sunday.
Racers ranging in age from 9 to 72 completed a 250-yard swim, 10-mile bike ride and 2-mile run. A portion of the entry fees (which ranged from $50 to $80 depending on when participants signed up) will benefit the Rex Heathcare Foundation.
Rex facilities in Wakefield and Knightdale have hosted races in the past, but this marked a first for this site. The pool inside the fitness center housed the swim. Bike riders rode west on Timber Drive before veering north and then U-turning at Elkhorn Drive. Runners also used Timber Drive, going east, turning around 1 mile down the road from the Rex Wellness Center parking lot.
Triangle company FS Series ran and timed the event. Jenny Beazley, operations manager at the Wellness Center in Garner, said the race was a good entry point into distance racing.
Anyone can get started in a race like this, Beazley said. Probably at least a third of runners maybe more than that were first-time triathlon competitors.
Rodney Jenkins, an exercise instructor at the Garner branch, won the 55-59 age bracket with a total time of 52 minutes, 51 seconds. One of his trainees, Theresa Pearce of Willow Spring, competed in her first triathlon, finishing in 1 hour, 11 minutes, 37 seconds. The two blogged about their training experiences at http://www.rexhealthblog.com.
Twenty-one Garner residents and nearly three dozen members of the Wellness Center in Garner competed. Shannon Thomsen posted the best time from a Garner resident at 55 minutes, 16 seconds, finishing 40th overall and fifth in his 40-44 age bracket. In the same age bracket, Juliette Kuhn posted the top time by a woman from Garner at 57 minutes 7 seconds; only one woman over 40 did better.
The only one to beat Kuhn? That was Jenkins wife and Wellness Center member Angie Caporiccino, at 55 minutes, 2 seconds.
Rex also promoted the race of Lyle Bates, who was competing in his first triathlon. Bates weighed over 500 pounds in 2009, according to a press release. With doctors demanding he lose weight, he changed his diet, shed 40 pounds, and later joined the Wakefield Rex Wellness Center. He went on to lose over 200 pounds in two years.
Bates finished in 1:06:37.