Well, sadly, as a follow up to my recent blog post entitled Go Ahead… Give it a “TRI”, I feel obligated to react to and report on a recent news story reported in the New York Daily News, “Man dies swimming in Triathlon in Vermont”. Apparently on Saturday, August 18th, during the swim portion (1.5K/.93 miles) of the USA Triathlon-sponsored Olympic distance triathlon in Lake Champlain in Burlington, VT., USA Triathlon officials reported that…
A man (in his 50’s – from Beverly, MA) competing in the USA Triathlon in Vermont (has) died after being pulled from a lake during the swimming portion of the race. USA Triathlon officials say safety personnel noticed the man just after 8:00 a.m. Saturday at the three-quarter point of the swim course in Lake Champlain in Burlington, VT. Rescuers pulled him from the water and performed CPR. He was pronounced dead at a Burlington hospital.
Saturday’s event was USA Triathlon’s 2012 National Championship for Olympic-distance Triathlon. More than 2,300 athletes participated in the championship triathlon event in Vermont, which was held in Burlington for the second consecutive year. According to race officials…
“…all participants must qualify to compete in the Olympic-Distance race, which includes a 1.5-kilometer swim, 40-kilometer bike ride and 10-kilometer run.”
As a fellow (amateur) triathlete, I am very saddened to hear of this tragedy. My heart and thoughts go out to this man’s family and friends. Apparently he had some type of “medical issue” during the swim leg in Lake Champlain and could not be revived.
So now, I feel compelled to follow up on my previous blog and my advice that you give sprint triathlons a “TRI”. Please remember to get full medical clearance from you doctor first before attempting any endurance sport, like triathlon, or beginning any new workout or fitness routine. But you don’t have to “TRI” a triathlon either. It’s not for everyone. I enjoy the sprint distance and triathlon training and the fitness challenge. It is for me.
Nevertheless, even though this triathlete from Beverly, MA was cleared and certified by USA Triathlon for the Olympic distance, unfortunately there is just a much higher level of risk involved in endurance sports like triathlon that all participants accept. You, on your own must decide if you can and will be comfortable accepting that level of risk, and what your athletic and fitness limits are. Only you (and your doctor) really know. It’s your call after all… and your doctor’s.
What I am left with as a takeaway as I reflect on this tragedy is that I remain passionate about and dedicated to the sport of Triathlon, and for me, the sprint distances are where it’s at. I mourn the loss of my fellow triathlete. But, I do also pause and consider whether there should be an age limit on an endurance (high risk) sport like Triathlon? Should men and women in their 50’s+ be competing is such athletic endeavors that tax and stress all our systems to the max? I cannot see myself competing in triathlons into my 50’s. I like a good fitness challenge, but I don’t know… The sprint distance is hard enough in my 40’s! I know this is an isolated and tragic event, but should USA Triathlon be setting age limits for the various distances? Just makes me wonder, and sad.
For now, I plan to keep sprint “TRI”-ing and will stick with the sprint distance. I hope to honor our fallen triathlete at The Pumpkinman and TREK Portsmouth Wallis Sands TRI’s this fall on the Seacoast.
Vale my friend.