WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio – The 88th Force Support Squadron hosted a sprint triathlon Sept. 11 as the final event of a “Build-Up” summer series on base.
The series finale was dedicated to all who lost their lives 20 years ago in the 9/11 terror attacks. Participants completed a 750-yard swim, 20K bike ride and a 5K run.
Justin Becker finished first overall with a time of 1 hour, 2 minutes, 19 seconds. The female winner was Brook Chilton, who came in at 1:09:41.
“This event is part of our ‘Build-Up’ series,” said Kevin Ball, 88 FSS fitness and sports manager. “June through September, we do a progressive increase in a variety of different events to build up to the sprint triathlon.”
This summer, base fitness and sports officials also hosted a mini-sprint triathlon, splash and dash (swimming and running), and duathlon (running and biking).
The sprint triathlon’s purpose was twofold: remembrance and a way for people to get, or stay, healthy and fit.
“We have a lot of people who are interested in triathlons,” Ball said. “This could also be used as training for some if they wanted to participate in the Air Force Marathon.”
Fitness staff planned for the event well in advance to help commemorate the 20th anniversary of 9/11.
“We were really excited to host this day since it means something to a lot of us,” he said. “That day changed my life forever, since I was in the Marine Corps and was activated in the infantry and ended up supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. We’re always going to remember and want to commemorate it with this event.”
For participants like 1st Lt. Elizabeth Beaty, a flight nurse assigned to the 36th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, the sprint triathlon was about resilience.
“This is a great sport and it helps you overcome a lot of physical and mental restraints, as well as persevere and maintain resiliency,” Beaty said. “I encourage everyone in all walks of life to experience going through something like this.”
While planning the event, fitness and sports staff kept COVID-19 protocols in mind to help keep participants safe.
“COVID mitigation was already planned into this because you have heats,” Ball said. “We just made smaller heats, spread people out in the pool and when people were running or biking, there is usually large gaps in between them.”