Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif. -- Combat Center residents and civilians pushed through a daunting Sprint Triathlon sponsored by Marine Corps Community Services and Gatorade Oct. 1.
Participants started at the Combat Center Officers’ Club and ran three miles before hopping on their bikes and riding out to Camp Wilson and back to the club before finally jumping in the pool for a 200-meter swim to the finish line.
“It’s a sprint triathlon, not a whole triathlon,” said Skip Best, Marine Corps Community Services athletics director. “For those who train for it, it’s not very hard at all.”
Medals were presented to the top three winners in each age group, and plaques were presented to the top male and female competitor.
First place for the men’s division was Phil Woodward, Marine Corps Communication-Electronics School. Woodward finished the race in 1 hour, 2 minutes, 5 seconds.
Kris Denney, wife of Maj. Matt Denney, Tactical Training Exercise Control Group, won first place for the female division with 1:10:45.
“It was a good distance for me,” said Denney, whose training consisted of running, biking and swimming once a week. “I don’t train enough for anything longer.”
David Oneill, MCCES, won first place for his age division with a time of 1:19:59. He also won a $1,000 voucher for a bike from Palm Springs Cyclery in a raffle.
Jasmine Schmidt, 13, and the youngest competitor at the triathlon, ran into a little trouble on the race. Jasmine’s bike’s derailleur, an instrument that helps shift gears, broke partway through the event.
Even still, she won first place for her age division with a time of 1:27:59 and according to a few of her competitors, she did quite well for her age. Her father, Andy Schmidt, who runs a surf shop in San Diego, brought Jasmine up to the Combat Center for the competition.
Jennifer Jordan, MCCES, spoke to Jasmine about the event and offered her some words of comfort. “You have 50 years of triathlons and training ahead of you,” Jordan said to Jasmine. “You did phenomenal today. Take it as a learning experience.”
Another competitor, under the baleful eye of multiple heart surgeries and a rebuilt knee, retired Navy Capt. Jack Perrodin, 76, finished in less than 2 hours.
“In 1975, I was still smoking and drinking. I was about 200 pounds, and I decided to turn my life around,” said Perrodin. Since then, he’s completed 65 marathons.
Regardless of the length of the course or its intended difficulty, many of the competitors seemed to enjoy themselves, as they were all smiles through most of the competition.
“I might be last, but I’ll be smiling,” said Diane Durdin, Headquarters Battalion Exercise Support Division, as she beamed a big smile halfway through the run.