Buck Hurley Triathlon takes to the streets of Salisbury

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 5, 2014

SALISBURY — Sunday’s fifth annual Buck Hurley Triathlon saw new records for participation by children, and new records set out on the course.
The event took place this year under almost cloudless skies, with warm temperatures — a far cry from the 2013 race, co-director Ester Marsh said.
This year’s triathlon also saw a wide variety of competitors, from first-timers to pros, Marsh said: “some hard-hitters, a lot of novices and the ones in between.”
The event, a sprint triathlon, features a 300-yard swim held in the Hurley Family YMCA pool, followed by a 10-mile bicycle road course and a final 5K run.
Tyler Jordan, of Charlotte, was the first overall finisher, with a total time of 47:53.
Jordan set two new course records during his performance Sunday, completing the bicycle leg in 25:34 and the run in 17:14.
This was Jordan’s third time competing in the Buck Hurley Triathlon. “The course is always good here, and they have really good volunteers,” he said.
Matt Wisthoff, of Wilmington, finished second overall with a time of 48:29. “It was a great course, a beautiful day. The weather’s perfect,” Wisthoff said.
As he stood talking to Jordan after the awards, Wisthoff said, “The competition’s definitely good, maybe a little too good,” with a grin at the competitor who beat him by 26 seconds overall.
Jenny Leiser, of Charlotte, was the first-place female finisher and placed sixth overall, with a combined time of 55:15.
Leiser said she came close to beating the record she set last year — “almost did, but not quite,” she said. “I was, like, ?ve seconds off on the bike.”
Although the 2013 event “was really cold,” Leiser said this year’s race was great and she was glad to compete in Salisbury again.
For other competitors, Sunday’s race was a chance to try something new or achieve a personal goal.
Mason Jennings, originally from Salisbury and now studying at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, finished second in the males 17 to 19 division, with a time of 1:11:15.
“I’ve always wanted to do a triathlon,” Jennings said.
The former North Rowan High School cross-country runner said he and friends have been training on campus in Chapel Hill for several months: “trying to get in shape … going to the gym, biking around campus.”
The hardest part, Jennings said, was learning how to transition between events – leaving the pool to get on the bike, leaving the bike to start running.
“I’d never experienced that before,” Jennings said. “Once I got past that bump, I was good for the rest of the race.”
Organizers said the event went smoothly except for one incident that resulted in minor injuries. Two men collided on Jake Alexander Boulevard during the bicycling leg of the triathlon, Marsh said. The accident occurred as the cyclists made the turn into the YMCA parking lot. One man reportedly suffered a broken bone in his hand as a result of the accident.
Marsh said law enforcement and firefighters on the scene provided first aid, and one competitor was transported to Novant Health Rowan Medical Center for further care.
New for this year was a separate race Saturday for children 6 and under, who could participate with help of their parents, Marsh said.
The younger children swam with flotation devices and could have training wheels on their bikes, Marsh said, and the event was not timed.
Marsh said the event for young children was a good way to get families active and involved.
Also new for this year were timed events for children.
Sunday, children ages 9 to 13 competed in abbreviated versions of the triathlon, with timing services provided by the Salisbury Rowan Runners.
The goal is to get parents and children together involved in racing, Marsh said. “We want it to be a family event,” Marsh said.
Event co-director Sarah Busby said at least one entire family had gotten medals by the end of the midmorning awards ceremony.
For Bo Brincefield, Sunday’s race was a whole new experience. “I’ve swum in a race, but never run,” Brincefield said. “It was fun, I was excited.”
Cheering him on were Meredith and Josh Brincefield, and Bo’s siblings.
Meredith said her son has been swimming with the Salisbury Sailfish swim team, but that when he heard about the kids’ triathlon, “he really wanted to do it.”
“I thought it was great. We had a fun time,” Meredith said.
“I thought it was very well organized. Everybody was very supportive,” said Melissa Heilig, whose son, Jack, 9, competed in his first race Sunday.
Jack, who’s Bo Brincefield’s cousin, said the running part was “tiring,” but that he enjoyed the swim.
“He’s already said yes, sign him up again,” Melissa said.
The first-place girls relay team in the 12-to-13-year-old bracket was a group of three students from Salisbury Academy.
Lila Harry, 13, Ellen Simons, 12 and Annabel Barr, 13, raced under the name “The Three Stooges.”
In fact, their team’s planning process might seem crazy to some.
They decided to form their team “Friday, over text,” Harry said – less than 48 hours before the triathlon.
In the end, it paid off. All three girls said they’ve been playing sports or running for some time.
For their age group, the triathlon consisted of a 100-yard swim, followed by a 3K bicycle course and a one-mile run.
Harry raced the running portion, while Simons took the bicycling race and Barr did the run.
Harry said that, if someone had told her that she’d be on a winning triathlon team when she started sports last fall, “I would have been like, no.”
Aside from the competitors who met or exceeded their goals, Marsh said this year’s fundraising goal of $10,000 for YMCA family scholarships had been surpassed by “quite a bit, at least $5,000 over the goal.”
A total fundraising figure won’t be available for several days, she said.
Marsh said the city of Salisbury had been very helpful, especially law enforcement and other personnel who assisted, as well as residents who live along the course.
Planning will begin soon for the 2015 race.
Marsh said that the event is currently near its capacity, sparked not only by the prize purse but by the large amount of local support.
Busby said there are many competitors who’ve been in the Buck Hurley Triathlon since it started at the Salisbury YMCA five years ago.
Busby also said she was glad to see the number of children involved. “Not only because they’re out here being active and healthy, but they’re helping other kids, other families get to be more active and healthy by funding scholarships,” Busby said.
“This is a lucky community, we’re truly fortunate to have the support we have,” she said.
Full results from the Buck Hurley Triathlon are available online at http://onthemarksports.com/?p=1942.
Contact Hugh Fisher via the editor’s desk at 704-797-4244.