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Friday, August 24 - Saturday, August 25, 2007 -- Morgantown, WV
Sprint, Splash 'n Spin Triathlon (iPO Event Id#: 10437)

2007: [Photos] [Details] [Coverage] [Overall Results] [Results by Class]
Coverage: [2004] [2005] [2006]

The S.S.S. is Truly a Community Event

SSS Tri. photo by JR Petsko
Cheering the racers on early morn. Photo by JR Petsko
Story and photos by JR Petsko

Most triathlons attract a very select group of competitors. These athletes excel not just in one sport. They master three different sports on the same day. A very select few can do this, and usually the same crowd can be found at just about ever triathlon in the area. But the Sprint, Splash, and Spin here in Morgantown, WV is different.

Of course you still had your amazing athletes like local stars Vinnie Monseau, Hannon Vernon, Derek Clark, Zach Bittinger, and Uniontown, PA native Bill Ulmer, but something was still... different.

People from all over the community and tri-state area who you'd never picture in your mind as being 'triathletes' showed up to participate in this event. I'm talking about folks as young as 5-years old for the Kid's Triathlon, to others as 'young' as 68-years for the adult race. The diversity was not only in age.

When I think of triathlons in my mind I picture people in unbelievable shape and for some that was the case this past weekend, but for others it was not. Folks one might see in a mall that you would never think would be able to handle the stress of doing such an event were there to take part.

By the time the last person crossed the finish line the number was well over 300 people. Some came to test themselves, and others to help out the event's cause, The Habitat for Humanity.

SSS Tri. Photo by JR Petsko
Hi to my fans! Photo by JR Petsko
It was clear that no matter what the reason or desire was, the event showcases three different sports that are popular in the mind of a lot of people. For example, Morgantown Multi-Sport Club has been around for a short time. They showed up with more than 30 members.

At 7:00 am, race favorites entered the pool to start with the 300 meter swim. First out of the pool was Jason Balko with the fastest swim leg of the day, 2 minutes and forty eight seconds. Balko was followed out of the pool by Vinnie Monseau in second, with a swim time of 3 minutes and 22 seconds, the second fastest swim of the day. Third was 17-year old, Hannah Vernon, with a blazing swim of just 3 minutes and 23 seconds. Not far behind came Zack Bittinger in fourth, and Bill Ulmer in fifth.

After the leaders exited the water it was time to jump on their bikes and head out on the road for an 11 mile road ride from the pools area down the rail trail to Star City and back. Monseau would show his skills during this section by over taking the lead and posting the fasted bike time of the day, 25 minutes and 43 seconds.

Derek Clark started moving up the overall ladder by posting a bike time of 26 minutes and 42 seconds. His time would turn out to be second on the day only to Monseau. Third on the bike leg went to Bill Ulmer in 27 minutes and 31 seconds. Ulmer put in the fifth fastest swim on the day was looking very consistent.

Sandy Offutt photo by JR Petsko
Sandy Offutt photo by JR Petsko
Hannah Vernon was still running strong for the women's field. She finished the bike section in 30 minutes and 48 seconds. One interesting fact about The Vernon Family is that Hannah raced, her mother Alice raced, and father Bob raced too! Both are well known throughout the local mountain biking community. I would have loved to have to been a fly on their wall above their dinner table later that night.

After the ride it was time for a change, time for sneakers and the 5K run.

At this point in the day temperatures really started to rise. That made a changing course that much harder. Showing no sign of wanting to give up the lead, Monseau, put up the fastest time finishing the run leg in 17:03 for a total race time of 47:11 seconds. Monseau looked strong throughout the day. He took home the overall victory as the large crowd on hand cheered him on.

Clark once again finished second to Monseau in the run leg with a time of 18:26. Clark's leg places: third in the swim, second in the bike, and second in the run was enough to give him second overall on the day finish in a total time of 50:52.

Kids Tri. photo by JR Petsko
Kids Tri. photo by JR Petsko
Third overall went to Zach Bittinger who finished the run in 18 minutes and 52 seconds giving him a total time of 50 minutes and 52 seconds, just 21 seconds behind Clark. Fourth overall went to Bill Ulmer, (my favorite because he brought me water during the hours I was out there shooting photos.) He finished the run in 20 minutes and 7 seconds and finished in a total time of 52 minutes and 22 seconds. Fifth went to Sean Gallagher in a total time of 53:37. Gallagher was able to put together a great run to overtake Jason Balko who finished sixth in a total time of 53:42.

For the women overall it was all about Hannah. Vernon not only won the women's overall title in 58:29. It was good enough to give the 17 year old 17th overall in the event. Second went to Cindy Newman in a total time of 1 hour 2 minutes and 15 seconds. Cindy put forth a great effort finishing 20th overall in the swim to put her off to a great start on the day.

Third went to Sandy Offutt who is a regular on the local running scene. With a finishing time of 1 hour 4 minutes and 23 seconds, Offutt showed that she could do more than just run.

Vinnie Monseau photo by JR Petsko
Vinnie Monseau give the kids the scoop. Photo by JR Petsko
Fourth went to Janet Gates who finished in a total time of 1 hour 5 minutes and 44 seconds. Gates had a fast swim of 4 minutes and 43 seconds and was the 27th fastest person to do the swim all day. Fifth went to Bonnie Ammons with a total time of 1 hour 7 minutes and 3 seconds. Ammons was beat out by a host of others who finished less than a minute back of her, which included Mary Greene, Gail Voorhees (wife of the Cannondale man, Rob Voorhees), and Ronna Monseau.

Just in case you are wondering how the battle of beat in the Vernon household went, here is the low down. Of course, Hannah with her overall female victory was first. Alice Vernon finished third in her class only to overall leaders Offutt and Gates in a total time of 1 hour 9 minutes and 25 seconds. Bob Vernon did just as well himself, finishing in a total time of 1 hour 8 minutes and 35 seconds. Like I said earlier, wonder how that dinner conversation went that evening.

In the family class it was all gold for Team Gold. Finishing in 1 hour 8:22, Team Gold was able to hold off team Claymation in second with a finishing time of 1 hour 12:43. Third went to team Clay Kids in a total time of 1 hour 15:11 seconds.

A good turnout for the co-ed relay class show Team WVU Plant Path take the win in 59 minutes and 2 seconds followed by Team Harrison County EMS in 1 hour 5 minutes and 13 seconds and in third was Team Click it for the in a time of 1 hour 5 minutes and 37 seconds. In the Female team class, Team We3 took the win followed by Team MKS and Team Phoenix. In the Male relay first went to Team the 8th, 9th and 10th Wonders of the World followed by Team Fly-Boys and then by everyone's favorite Team Lester Sculpture.

Even if you didn't win the overall or even win your class anyone who took part in the event has got to be proud of themselves. It says a lot about anyone who is willing to put their body to the test in not just one sport but three on the same day. Great job, and not to mention you are all helping out a great cause. I challenge you all who came out this year to tell you friends what you did and see if they think they can do, and if they say they can tell them to prove it by showing up in 2008.