Staff photos by Emmy Errante
Scott Jelliman and other participants quickly warm up in the hot showers provided for athletes in between the swim course and the run course of the PPD Beach2Battleship Full and Half Iron Distance Triathlon on Saturday, Oct. 26.
The 2013 PPD Beach2Battleship Iron Distance Triathlon saw its participants battle a long day’s trials.
The numbers tell the story. The athletes totaled 2,400; the swim was 2.4 miles; the bike 112 miles; the run a full-distance, 26-mile marathon.
The day started briskly with air temperatures hovering in the 40s and a mass of neoprene-outfitted figures huddling to make use of collective body heat, some of whom attested the waiting is the hardest part.
“My mind’s going 20 different directions but I’m feeling good,” said Adam Swank of Durham, N.C.
It was his third B2B experience.
“I’m a good swimmer and the water’s warm — this is the best I’m going to feel all day,” Swank said.
Whatever the hardest part may be, the water offered haven from the air at just less than 70 degrees as swimmers filed into the sound south of the U.S. Coast Guard Station at Wrightsville Beach to signal the beginning of the day’s lengthy tests of endurance.
The B2B also features a half-iron distance in addition to the full, the swim start of which was an hour later at the Carolina Yacht Club, so as the full distance athletes swam past, the half distance athletes looked on, preparing.
Krystle Bailey of Charleston, W.Va., backed off her year-round training to prepare by giving her body some rest, her spiritual preparation at the forefront of her disposition.
“The past three weeks I did two bikes a week, swam maybe three times,” Bailey said.
Concerning the challenges the day presents, she addressed the most difficult and expressed her confidence in confronting them.
“The way you feel getting off the bike makes the run the hardest part, but honestly, I know God’s got my back, I read my Bible right before I swim, I know that he fully has me and I just do it,” she said.
At Seapath Yacht Club, swimmers exited the water, shed their wetsuits, jogged across Causeway Drive to the bike racks at Wrightsville Beach Park and donned their cycling speed-suits and helmets, thus embarking on the race’s next leg that would take them all the way to White Lake, N.C.
Dick Jones, CEO of the Wilmington YMCA, the event’s sole benefactor, commented on proceeds, outlined the race’s timetable and noted coinciding events.
“The net to the Y will be in excess of $100,000, it’s our biggest fundraiser,” Jones said. “We’ve got over 1,400 volunteers, some here and some as far as 60 miles away. The first of the full-distance athletes will finish inside of nine hours and the last will finish inside of 17. We’ve got the concert series across the waterway at the Battleship Park, we had a concert last night at Legion Stadium, so there’s a lot going on, but it’s all good for the community, people are coming in and spending dollars.”
Jeff Paul of Le Claire, Iowa, was the top male to finish the full triathlon at 9:05:28. Jackie Pearce of Columbia, Mo., was the top female to finish the full triathlon at 10:04:05.