Third annual South Orange Family YMCA's tri/duathlon and run/walk is tomorrow
MONROE — Triathletes, runners and walkers will be hitting the water and road tomorrow, Aug. 2, as participants in the South Orange Family YMCA's third annual Tri/Duathlon & Run/Walk which starts at the Twin Lakes Waterski Park on Orange-Rockland Road in Monroe.
It has a dual purpose of being a healthy exercise competition while raising money for future expansion at the Y.
Participants like Chester resident and triathlete Chris Loftus are ready.
"I think the challenge is getting good at it, going as fast as you can," said Loftus, who is a chemical engineer in Paramus, N.J. "Throughout the year, at some point of the year, one of them is my favorite, and at some point, one of them is my least favorite. But I'm very equal (in competency) in all three."
Loftus made the switch to competing in triathlons after fulfilling a goal of participating in the Bass Masters Classic fishing event.
"I qualified for the Bass Masters Classic 2008 in Lake Cartwell, S.C. in 2008," he said. "I made one of six amateur slots. That was my lifelong goal. Once I achieved it, I was looking for something different."
So now, for the last six years, he swims, bikes and runs.
"This is a hometown race and it's nice to have one so close to home," he said. "I do my interval work right on the course. It makes a big difference when you're training right where you're racing. How to pace it out, it takes a lot get it down."
Loftus typically participates in six to seven events annually, while mixing in some other running events.
Along with Mike Donnelly - who is a Y tri-coach and who trains beginner athletes in 12- and 24-week program at the Y - Loftus heads up the Orange County Multi-Sport Club.
"Many of our club members are participating," he said.
Jump, run, bike
As expected, Loftus is a huge triathlon supporter.
"It's fun," he said. "It's like being a kid, you get to play in three different sports. You jump in the water, you run and you bike. That's that appeal. There's also a good healthy lifestyle appeal to it and the pure challenge of it. It's not easy being good in three different sports."
Loftus expects to have a great time with his friends while helping raising money for a good cause.
"We have an expression in the tri world," he added. "We want to run with the runners, swim with swimmers and ride with the cyclists. The fact that we can keep up with three sports is a real thrill."
- Nancy Kriz
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