Triple Threat Test

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Sinclair prepares for the 4-mile bicycle in the designated staging area.

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Julie Sinclair, who finished as the fastest female competitor, strokes her way through the initial 100-meter swim while fellow competitors await their turn to start.

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Alex Ratzlaff (foreground) and Shannon Heiser reach the turnaround point on the bike route;

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Chrisitan Ratzlaff begins the third-stage: a one-mile run.

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Program coordinators Anna Woods (left) and Amy Ratzlaff check signals near the end of the triathlon. Both women were pleased with the level of participation they saw in the first-year program.

They swam, they bicycled, they ran, they competed. Ultimately, every one of them won.

Nineteen youth between the ages of 7 and 15 participated in the first Triple Threat Triathlon on Saturday in Hillsboro.

The event, sponsored by the Hillsboro Recreation Commis?sion and organized by Amy Ratzlaff and Anna Woods, was the culmination of a summer-long program for local youth called the Triple Threat Fitness Challenge.

Most of the participants in the triathlon were local youth, but competitors also came from Kansas City, Clay Center and Wichita.

Each participant was required to swim 100 meters in the pool, then mount a bicycle and cover a back-and-forth route of four miles, then complete a one-mile run.

The swimming was at the Family Aquatic Center while the biking and running was in the adjacent Sports Complex.

Rather than a simultaneous start, participants began individually in timed intervals.

Participants competed in four age categories. Cash prizes were awarded to the top three finishes in each age division: $25 for first, $15 for second and $10 for third.

Jon Murphy, a 15-year-old from Wichita, was the overall male winner with a total time of 22 minutes, 33 seconds. Julie Sinclair, 11, from Hillsboro, was the overall female winner in 31:51.

Following are the results from each age division:

n Age 7-8: 1. Joe Knoll 33:32; 2. Darian Ratzlaff 36:51; 3. Kobe Neufeldt 37:47.

n Age 9-10: 1. Shannon Heiser 31:54, 2. Alex Ratzlaff 32:18, 3. Abi Hurst 37:02.

n Age 11-12: 1. Christian Ratz?laff 26:38, 2. Julie Sinclair 31:51, 3. Taylor Neufeldt 32:52.

n Age 13-15: 1. Jon Murphy 22:33, 2. Micah Mashburn 27:39, 3. Josh Richert 27:53.

?I think I was more nervous co-coordinating this event than the kids competing in it, but I felt it went over great,? said Woods. ?I hope the kids walked away feeling empowered to keep competing, to stay active, and to feel like they can do anything.?

Members of the Tabor College volleyball team volunteered as assistants for the triathlon as a mission project for their season.

Ratzlaff is the team?s head coach.

?The event couldn?t have been as successful without the help of the Tabor women?s volleyball team,? Woods said. ?They helped man each transition area, set-up and take-down equipment, cheer the kids on, and then ran with the last few finishers.?

Prior to the triathlon, 28 local youth had been participating in the Triple Threat Fitness Challenge that ran from June 4 to Aug. 16.

Participants were challenged to log 2,000 meters of swimming, 70 miles of bicycling, and 70 miles of running.

The seven youth who achieved those goals were recognized as ?Double Gold Winners? and were feted on Saturday after the triathlon. They were Megan Shafers, Josh Richert, Alex Ratz?laff, Christian Ratzlaff, Darian Ratzlaff, Micah Mash?burn and Elli Weisbeck.

?I was so proud of the kids who logged their miles all summer long as part of the fitness challenge because they were the ones who were successful in the triathlon event,? Woods said.

?Some of these kids logged some pretty amazing miles when you think about it.?

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