The always-well-attended Greenville Triathlon took place on August 14, 2016. This sprint triathlon (400m pool swim, 15 mile bike, 5k run) has been going strong since 2003 and draws a great crowd of triathletes from across the state. This year was no different with close to 300 people competing. Representing the FGM team was Fiona Martin and Pamela Babbitt. Amy Wise unfortunately couldn’t compete due to injury, but we look forward to seeing her at the next tri!
It’s always an early start at Greenville, probably because we’re right in the thick of that famous South Carolina summer. The pool swim start kicked off at 7am. Pamela was seeded fairly close to the front – bib number 48 meant she was the 48th person in the pool. Fiona was 30 people back with bib number 79. We were set off at 10 second intervals.
Pamela enjoyed her seeding closer to the front; the only issue coming when 5 of them bunched up at the pool exit ladder causing a delay. Fiona’s seeding worked out well – she was passed once and passed 4 people. Her issue came with the start – they allowed us to dive in the pool, which very few triathletes practice and led to her goggles ending up around her neck. A quick fix and she was off. Pamela finished the swim in 8:22 and Fiona in 7:50.
The pool at Westside Aquatic Center is a treat – eight 50m lanes means we only have to go down the pool length once before switching lanes, which gives us ample room to pass or be passed. The 15 mile bike portion took us through a lot of hills, typical for a Greenville course. We were warned by race direction Jeremey Davis about a descent around mile 7 that had a sharp right turn at the bottom, asking us to slow down and not go into the left lane as that road was not closed to traffic. There were no accidents heard of besides someone dropping a bottle and stopping to collect it (rookie mistake on a race) and a mishap at the dismount line that saw a friend go head first over his handlebars. Pamela absolutely dominated the bike portion, finishing in 43:48. Fiona came in a little slower at 46:11.
On to the run, which is a two loop course that takes us through a parking lot, the woods and a tightly packed neighborhood before finishing on a football field behind the Westside Aquatic Center. For such a short course, they manage to pack in the hills and the extra challenge of running on a variety of surfaces (asphalt, mud, sand and grass). One of the hardest parts of the course is the run through the woods, which is on a narrow path with people running both directions and trying to pass. A few people rolled their ankles in the process, but it was better than last year when the course was hit by rain overnight, making the path a mud hole that only got worse as the race continued and the footfall increased. Pamela held on during the run and managed to beat her closest rivals in her age group. Fiona did the same, although she was beat in the end with a faster time by Becky Arndt, who continues to dominate with her speedy 5ks.
Final results had both Fiona and Pamela on the podium – Fiona finished 2nd in her age group and 12th overall female. Pamela also finished 2nd in her age group and beat a few people she had her eye on for series points. All in all, a great race and venue with some fantastic results for the FGM team!