Rain could not bring down the athletes participating in the 12th annual Valparaiso Triathlon. On a soggy and unseasonably cold Saturday morning, around 300 hundred athletes competed in the triathlon. Participants from ages 15 and up made their way through Rogers-Lakewood Park by biking 12.4 miles, swimming a quarter-mile, and running 3.2 miles.
The biggest factor of the day was Mother Nature herself. During the entire race the rain poured down without stopping. Even if a force of nature like heavy rain should have stumped the athletes, most of them powered through. Barbie Johnson, who has been working the triathlon for the past 12 years, said that the rain didn’t faze the participants.
“I asked several people as they’ve finished about how it went and they said it was great. They said that the wet roads didn’t slow them down on their bikes or running. They didn’t really have any problems with everything being wet,” she explained.
People from all walks of life had their own reasons to power through the triathlon. For instance, John Borman proposed to his wife Marie at the Chicago Marathon in 2012 and decided to participate in the triathlon on the morning of his wedding.
“It just felt right to come and do this before I head over to get married. My best man, his wife, and another one of my groomsmen joined me to do this,” he said. “Plus, I didn’t really even train for this, but doing a triathlon was better than sitting at home waiting.”
On the opposite-end 89-year-old Robert McKeague made the Valpo Tri one of his five marathons he participates in each year. “I’ve been doing triathlons for 30 years now and they’re what I do. I’m not ready to become a couch potato yet,” he explained.
McKeague also said that out of all of the triathlons he participates in, Valpo’s is a bit different. “I look forward to this one because it’s more low key and everyone here is nice and very upbeat.”
One of the people who kept the atmosphere cheerful was Leah Tachtiris, a volunteer for the race who couldn’t help but sing her praises about all of the athletes, “I think they’re wonderful. It takes a lot to be in these triathlons and they’ve all been wonderful - despite the weather,” she said.
In the end all of the people who placed within the top three of their age divisions proudly walked up under the cover of the stage to grab their awards. Even if they didn’t place every one who crossed the blue finish line was awarded with a medal.
As all of the athletes went home soaking wet and a completed triathlon under their belt, they still had a smile on their face. Valpo’s 12th Triathlon is certainly one for the books, and it will be the story everyone talks about until year number 13 rolls around. Congratulations to all of the participants in the triathlon!