Athletes compete in Buck Hurley Triathlon Challenge

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 7, 2012

By Susan Shinn
For The Salisbury Post
The J.F. Hurley Family YMCA lived up to its name Sunday as lots of families participated in its third-annual Buck Hurley Triathlon Challenge. The entire Abramson and Michael families took part.
“Every Sunday since we registered, we have had family practice,” Meredith Abramson said. She and her husband, Andy, and daughters Macy, 9, and Miles, 6, all took home medals. “There are age-appropriate distances for all of us.”
The same was true of the Michael family, which includes parents Chad and Cathy, and their three children, son Carson, 8, and daughters Caelyn, 7, and Carrigan, 3. Cathy was the second-fastest female overall. The couple are both triathletes, and the children asked to join them for Sunday’s events.
“We take bike rides in our neighborhood and we definitely swim together,” Cathy said. Her two older children are on the swim team. “We try to make it fun.”
Cathy and Meredith met up at the pool early Sunday morning, as the adult triathletes lined up by fastest swim times.
“I’m so nervous!” admitted Meredith, an experienced marathoner. “I always get nervous before races.”
Cathy gave her a quick, reassuring hug. “She’s got this,” she said.
Outside, Susan Moore was helping daughter Maggie, 7, set up her bike in the transition area. Maggie’s pink bike sported butterflies in the spokes.
“You’ve got your towel laid out,” Susan instructed. “When you get out of the pool, put your shorts on and dry your feet off, and then put on your shoes and socks and you’ll be ready to go.”
Susan and Maggie have participated in the triathlon all three years together.
Her older daughter, Ila, 16, stood off to the side, watching. She came as a volunteer.
“Mom made her!” Susan interjected.
“I came home late from prom,” said Ila, a student at North Hills Christian School, still wearing silver polish on her nails. “I’ll probably go get on the curb and sleep!”
Meanwhile, Sarah Phillips was wide awake over at the pool area, sporting a bright orange T-shirt from the 2010 triathlon. Phillips, a PE teacher at Overton Elementary School, said she thought about taking part for the third consecutive year, but decided against it since her daughter is due in only 7 weeks. She is to be named Margaret Victoria.
“Her initials will be MVP,” Sarah pointed out with a grin.
The race started right on time, and the glass surface of the pool was soon broken by windmills of arms as the swimmers jumped in the deep end at 15-second intervals. Sarah waited patiently by the door, guiding swimmers out and keeping them from hitting the doorframe as they sprinted to their bikes. Amy Shellhorn stood on the pool deck at the last lane, her camera at the ready.
“One more lane! You got it! You’re almost done!” she urged swimmers as some began to tire after 300 yards.
Norma and Ken Prater came along in their church clothes to cheer on their two adult sons, Jonathan and David. Norma was proud that Jonathan’s young son, Zachary, was up so early.
At the transition area, a handful of swimmers traded time chips with bikers who were on three-person teams. There was the 2 Devils and 1 Wolf team, as well as another team that sounded pretty smart: Old Enough to Know Better.
There were nearly as many volunteers as the approximately 130 participants throughout the course. The Y’s Amy Goins stood nearby at the end of the bike course, warning bikers to slow down for the dismount line. Glenn Terry of Autumn Care, an event sponsor, also worked the bike area. He said he used to participate in triathlons for about 12 years until injuries and surgeries came along.
“I’m not as active without hurting somewhere,” he said. “But volunteering is a blast.”
A few minutes later, Meredith Abramson ran easily to the finish line, first in her age group. Her daughter, Miles, with the number 300 written all over her tiny body, cheered her on. “Go Mommy!” she said.
Ben Blumenthal, 9, made a wide-eyed sprint to the finish as spectators cheered him on, and Meredith ran back to escort daughter Macy to the finish line.
Acquawon Stallworth was the second-place female masters winner. She said she improved her time from last year.
“I taught myself how to swim better,” said Acquawon, who considers running her strongest sport. “I had to come a long way. I am definitely still working on my swimming. I’m going to take a week off, and then I’m back in the pool.”
She said she plans to do one or two other triathlons, in addition to the Buck Hurley event. “This is my favorite because it’s at home and I feel much more comfortable here.”
Henry Goodnight advanced from the super sprint course last year to the regular course this year. He was happy with his time as well.
“There were perfect conditions,” he said. “It was cloudy and cool. You couldn’t ask for better.”
For the complete list of winners, visit or www. .
Freelance writer Susan Shinn lives in Salisbury.