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Trainer Mark Erickson attended the Pigman Triathlon to support first-time competitor Kelly Allsup.

Kelly Allsup’s fitness friends at Kettlebell Advantage may have something to say about the large bowl of fudge-topped ice cream she ate Sunday afternoon.

But after swimming a half-kilometer, riding her bicycle 25K and then running another 5K, Allsup has earned the right to celebrate – and indulge – a bit, says trainer Mark Erickson.

“We'll let her get away with it this one time,” said Erickson. “Kelly is a great example of someone who is self-motivated and puts in a lot of time training.”

Allsup was one of approximately 800 people to complete the annual Pigman Triathlon at Pleasant Creek State Park north of Palo.

The first-time participant had set a two-hour time goal for completing the course.

“Going in I was hoping to be under two hours but wasn't sure I could get it,” she said. “ I ended up at 1:48. When I got my results I was grinning.”

Yes, Allsup wants to do the Pigman, or perhaps a similar event, again.

“I learned a few things and enjoyed the challenge. I would maybe even consider the longer one-an even bigger challenge.”

In August, event organizers are planning a Pigman Olympic Triathlon(1.5K Swim, 40K Bike and a 10K Run)and a Long Course Triathlon (1.2M Swim, 56M Bike, and a 13.1M Run).

The Triathlon's different events each tested participants in a variety of ways, said Allsup.

“All three legs had their own challenges.” She said. “The swim was tough with all the people. Bike was where I would do things different; I didn't have a road bike so I asn't as fast as others and made it more of a challenge for me. Running is my strongest, but at that point, you are tired so it is more of a mental game with yourself than a normal 5k would be.”

One main benefit of completing such an event, said Allsup, is the sense of accomplishment shared by those who finish the tough course.

“The best part is the feeling of accomplishment that I had even before I started the race. Even training for it has been more effort than normal, so you just feel good about yourself and your abilities,” she said.

After some rest (and, of course, the ice cream), Allsup plans to resume her workouts today,

“It was a fun day,” she said.

Erickson was on hand to cheer Allsup as she swam, biked and ran.

“The workouts she did with us were just a portion of her commitment to compete in her first Triathlon,” Erickson said. “She had a goal and stuck to her plan. My goal is to create the environment that can help people like Kelly accomplish whatever they want. That doesn't stop when they leave the gym. A little encouragement can really help build confidence in people. It was a lot of fun watching Kelly do something today that she never would have imagined doing a few years ago. She gets all the credit.”

Family and team participants

While most Triathlon participants do all three events, about 150 participants joined teams of two or three people who divided the course among themselves.

The Powers family, with some area residents, formed three teams. One of those team members was Cheryl Knaack, known to most Vinton residents as one of the florists at Nature’s Corner.

She swam in the event for the first time on Sunday. Other family members participating include Andy and Julie Huntsman, Parker Anderson, Leah, Jason and Logan Cox, Abby Utsinger and Andy Shea.

“It was a wonderful experience and a great day,” said Knaack, who, after swimming, joined other family members along the course route to cheer on the runners and bikers.

Knaack's daughter, Abby Utsinger, is the daughter-in-law of Don Utsinger, the former Vinton resident and long-time Independence PE teacher. Don Utsinger, who now lives in Florida, has won many national honors in similar events in recent years; he finished first in the men's age 64-69 division in this year's Pigman.

“Our family is already planning for the next one,” Knaack says. “It’s a great way to stay healthy.”

Another team from Vinton consisted of swimmer Dave Redlinger, bicyclist Julie Lessig and runner Bradley Shaw, who formed the team they called “Did We Win.”

VS track dads

The weekend before the Pigman, Kyle Schminke of rural Shellsburg and Nick Sagan of Vinton had spent hours at Drake Stadium, watching their children compete in the Iowa High School State Track Meet.

Both Sagan, the father of Viking Nolan Sagan, and Schminke, the dad of high school sprinter Dawne and seventh grade speedster Sarah, had run the Pigman before.

Schminke was happy with his time; Sagan, less so.

“It may not have been a good idea to have Nolan’s graduation party the night before,” he said. The family delayed the party for a week because of the State Track Meet, where Nolan a VS record in the 400M event.

Schminke, however, cut nearly 16 minutes from his previous best, finishing the course in under 1 hour, 26 minutes. He regularly participates in the Pigman and other similar events.

First-timer joins niece

Pam Langmann joined previous participant and VS graduate Alli Fank in participating in the Pigman.

“I was very nervous about completing the course but that all went away with all the support and it ended up being lot of fun,” she said. “It was awesome experience.”

A swimming coach for the Vinton Aquatic Club, Langmann thanked the club for helping her to get ready for the swimming portion of the event. In addition to participating in the open water swim times the club offered, Langmann said she would get on the bike or put on her running shoes every chance in the few free hours she has had between her two jobs.

“I was trying to bike every chance I had, and run or walk an hour every day,” she said. “At heart I like being a couch potato. This just shows with a little effort you can do anything put your mind to.”

Langmann said she is hoping to complete in the upcoming Camp Courageous Triathlon, if her schedule allows.

See the Pigman Triathlon web site HERE.

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Comments (2)

I actually was also a first-time participant.
By: Allison Steensen on June 5th 8:16am
And I'm not a Fank anymore. But beyond that, yes Pam and I did it together.
By: Allison Steensen on June 5th 12:30pm

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