Parris Island “Where It All Begins”
Parris Island is “Where It All Begins” for both the South Carolina Triathlon Series (SCTS) and the majority of the marines in the US.
This flat and fast course starts out with a 500m swim in the Military Combat Pool, followed by a 10-mile bike, and 5k run. FGM team members racing included Amy Wise, Fiona Martin, and Tami Leonhardt in her first triathlon appearance! The weather leading up to the race was unusual for March – January and February were much hotter than average, but the week March 15th saw freezing temperatures overnight and highs in the 50’s. On the day of the race, we got lucky with morning temps in the 50’s, getting up to 70 degrees by 11 am.
Many of us traveled down to Beaufort, SC the night before the race and met up for dinner. The morning of saw 400 athletes arriving on site to pick up their packets. The race was scheduled to start at 9 am. Kudos to the Setup Events team for an on-time start – there were still people picking up packets at 8:45! Since this was a pool start, we lined up according to our numbers, which are determined by the division and swim time submitted.
Fiona starts this season as an “Open Athlete” so she was able to start near the front as number 23. Amy started in the first third racing as number 121 and Tami placed herself further back with number 236. The pool swim was its usual mix of splashing, passing and trying not to drown. Fiona finished the first leg near the back of the open athletes with a time of 10:17. Amy did well while struggling with a shoulder injury and Tami survived her first pool swim start!
The 10-mile bike course is fast, flat and windy! It wound through the base, passing the barracks and golf course. As there were many out and back sections, it was easy to see where you were in relation to other athletes. That said, with it being a time trial start, there really is no way of knowing if you’re ahead or behind your competitors in terms of time.
Tami sped through with a 34-minute split, Amy put her new TT bike to the test and also had a split of 34 minutes, and Fiona found herself out on the course mostly by herself and ended up with a 33-minute split.
The run felt even faster and flatter than the bike course! An out and back 5k-ish (closer to 2.9 miles than 3.1) kept you on your toes with athletes passing in the opposite direction and from behind (hopefully, not too many!). At the turn around point, our water station was manned by marines in uniform, which was a great encouragement to go out and kill the last 1.5 miles. Fiona got a run split of 22:04, finishing with a 1:08:23 total. Amy finished it up with a 27 minute 5k – 1:17:33 overall. And Tami rounded out her first triathlon with a 26 minute 5k for a total of 1:21:21 – good for 3rd place in her age group!
Parris Island was a great start to the SCTS season and all the FGM team members enjoyed their races and left with things to improve on. The next races for the FGM team members are in April.