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  • 05 Apr 2019 5:37 PM | Deleted user

                Looking for a challenge with her 40thbirthday approaching, Karen Harbaugh signed up for the TriGators Super Sprint Triathlon in 2008.  Little did she know then how much triathlon and endurance sports would become part of her life.

                Karen has no specific sports background. As a kid, she was always playing outside and riding her bike around the neighborhood.  She waterskiied, snorkeled, and generally played at the beach growing up.  At 16, she bought a 10-speed bike and would later ride it to all of her college classes.  Once in Gainesville, she discovered the High Intensity Interval Class, formerly known as Sports Conditioning, hosted by Andy Farina.  It was through the connections made here that she would first start in obstacle races and triathlons.  Impressively, Karen was the female overall winner of the Superhero Scramble, a Mud Run, in 2013 out of 708 women and finished 12thoverall out of 1,388 athletes.  That same year, Karen would take an age group victory in the Siesta Key Sprint Triathlon by out sprinting her nearest competitor, winning by a single second.

                Karen joined G3 in 2015 while training for Ironman Louisville. She wanted to meet other people in the sport and learn as much as she possibly could.  It would be meeting John Bongiovanni that put her mind at ease as he and the other members were so kind and welcoming.  Complicating that Ironman was the fact that she was diagnosed with a meniscus tear which made training in the final two months leading up the event quite challenging, especially given the high mileage needed with running.  She would go on to finish that Ironman, her first.  She had a big support crew of friends at that race which she will always cherish.  She will also never forget with Timothy Donovan caught up to her halfway through the marathon and they ran the rest of the way together.  She finished in 13:01:13.  Finishing that race taught her that anything is possible if you just believe in yourself.

               Karen feels that her best accomplishment in the sport of triathlon is qualifying for Team USA and lists competing for Team USA in the ITU Draft Legal Sprint World Finals in Gold Coast, Australia in September of 2018 as her favorite race.  She finished 30thin the world in her age group.  She qualified again for the 2019 World Championships, but sadly had to decline due to a knee injury.  She notes that it was an honor and privilege to represent the United States on this stage.

                Karen notes that her best ever race result, however, was in 2016 in Ironman Chattanooga.  On a sweltering hot day she clocked a 12:14:40, finishing 9thin her age group and 52ndamong all women.  A truly remarkable accomplishment given the 97°high and heat index of over 100°!  That morning, prior to the swim start surrounded by friends, Karen fondly remembers loudly singing “Best Day of My Life” by American Authors.  The song gives her goose bumps to this day.

                The following year, 2017, would be another big year for Karen.  She was the overall female masters champion in the Gate2Gate Ultramarathon 50K, clocking an impressive 6:03:59.  That same year, she was selected to be an ambassador for the Vibram shoe brand.

                As part of Karen’s pre race routine, she likes to eat dinner and go to bed early.  On the morning of the race, she likes to rise at least 2 hours prior to getting to the race venue.  She eats peanut butter and honey toast, Gatorade, water, and a cup of coffee. About an hour before the start time, she eats a banana and drinks additional water.  She likes to warm up in the water with a bit of swimming as it seems to calm her nerves and then she takes a GU about 10 minutes before her wave begins.

                For people thinking about becoming involved in the sport, Karen advises to “find your tribe.”  Having a fun, supportive, and encouraging group with which to share your triathlon journey makes all the difference in the world.  She also advises to not worry about keeping up with the Joneses by thinking you must buy fancy equipment.  If you decide to keep it as a part of your life, you can always upgrade equipment in the future depending upon your goals.

                As far as goals are concerned, Karen aims to remain consistent in her training and recovery and see improvements in all aspects of triathlon.  Primarily she wants to stay as strong and healthy for as long as possible. What she loves most is the connections she has made with friends and the positive impact that the sport has had in her life.

                There is more to Karen than just endurance sports.  She loves roller coasters and has even gone bungee jumping.  Additionally, she has donated over 7 gallons of blood in her lifetime and remains active on the bone marrow donor registry.  She had all three of her children’s cord blood donated for stem cells.

                Karen is now 50 years old.  She works as a full time Physician Assistant in Interventional Radiology at the VA.  She is also the mother to three children, ages 22, 20, and 15. Karen joined the board of G3 in 2016 and remains an active member of the board to this day.

  • 24 Mar 2019 5:04 PM | Deleted user

         In June of 2017, Cassady Allen, now 28 years old, toed the line for her first ever triathlon in the JAX Triathlon Series #1. Her journey to the starting line began in high school where she specialized in freestyle distance and individual medley swimming.  Her coach, an Ironman athlete, who would jump in the water to do her workouts after she finished coaching her athletes, inspired her.  An Ironman was added to Cassady’s bucket list. But life would derail those dreams in the short term.  At 22 years of age, she was told that she would never be a successful runner due to new onset asthma, a condition she has never had before.  However, her physician did not know how stubborn Cassady can be. 

         Cassady set out to become a runner.  At first, she could get no farther than a quarter mile without sitting on the curb with her inhaler.  She persisted.  She signed up for a 5K and with the couch-to-5K program, she was able to finish.  A few years later, with her dogged determination, she extended her distances to 10K, half marathons, marathon, and then ultimately an ultra marathon, the first ever Gate2Gate 50K in 2016 which she would complete in 7:24:34.

         Over the time in which she transformed herself into a long distance runner, it would be leg injuries, not asthma that would ultimately slow her down.  First it was a knee, then a hip, then a foot, and finally the other knee. Her orthopedic team warned that further damage could end up in major surgery.  She was now limited to 20 miles a week of pounding the pavement. However, she was told she could swim and bike as much as she wanted.  So in the fall of 2016, already knowing many G3 members through running clubs and events, the decision to join G3 was made as she new she would need support, encouragement, and friendship while embarking upon this new adventure.  Cassady notes that this was one of the easiest decisions she has ever made.

         Cassady would finish that Jacksonville race in 1:25:00 and she was hooked.  She loved swimming in the ocean and feeling the breeze while riding her bike, which she described as peaceful.  She loved the atmosphere at the finish line.

         Cassady lists the Great Clermont Sprint Triathlon in March of 2019 as her best ever race as she was the 3rdoverall female finisher, a truly amazing accomplishment for someone with less than two years of racing under her belt.  She hasn’t been a huge fan of the biking, but has slowly learned to enjoy it.  She had her best bike ever that day on a very difficult bike course averaging 20.5 mph.  But Cassady finds that just being able to cross the finish line still amazes her that her body is able to carry her through the completion of each race.

         While Cassady has no triathlons that she’s like to forget, she does regret running the Disney Wine and Dine half marathon while battling a major knee injury.  She wasn’t medically cleared yet and was in terrible pain by the second mile. Maybe the worst pain was telling her physical therapist what she had done!

         Cassady has a couple of pre race routines she follows.  She packs and repacks her gear numerous times before loading her car, just to make sure she has everything she needs.  On race day, she lays out her transition spot in a similar fashion to ensure everything is just right.  Right before the race starts, she likes to sip on a Red Bull as she notes it gives her a little extra jolt of “go-get-it” right before the swim.

    For people thinking about getting involved in triathlon, she advises, “Just got for it!”  She notes that it is okay to be excited, scared, nervous, etc. Everyone has a first experience with triathlons and felt the multitude of emotions that comes with it. Triathlons can be overwhelming but it helps to have a strong support system like G3!  And if you ever have questions, just ask!  If someone doesn’t know the answer, they probably know someone who does!

         Cassady is a Binder Lab Manager for the FL Dept of Transportation.  In layman’s terms, she is an asphalt chemist who “hides away in a lab all day and works on research projects for the State.”

         Outside of becoming faster, Cassady hopes to fulfill the Ironman dream that first inspired her in high school.  She plans on tackling that task at Ironman Maryland in 2019!  

  • 02 Jan 2019 2:53 PM | Deleted user

    In June of 2014, Timothy Donovan embarked upon his first triathlon, the Siesta Beach Triathlon.  He did so at the urging of Karen Harbaugh as he wanted to do a “short” triathlon before attempting Ironman Augusta 70.3 that same year.  Karen had convinced him that Augusta was doable as “The swim is downstream in a river,” and “A potato chip bag floated down the river and made the cutoff time.”   So Tim took on the Olympic distance race as his first ever race and it was an “utter disaster.”  His swim time nearly matched his 10K run time and he nearly left T1 without his helmet.  He notes his combined transition time was approximately 13 minutes.  But he would not be dissuaded.  He would race Augusta that September in 5:25:50 and he was hooked.

    In 2015, Tim set his sights on a bigger distance race and so he, Karen, and Jeff Godman signed up for 2015 Ironman Louisville.  This is the time that Tim also joined G3 as he was hoping it was a good opportunity to meet like-minded athletes.  At the first meeting he attended, he met John Bongiovanni, who had separately signed up for the same Ironman.  Tim would go on to finish that race in 13:01:13.  Looking back, Tim believes that the summer of training and racing together with old friends and new were some of the best experiences he has had in triathlon.            

    Tim considers his best ever race result the 2014 Five Points of Life Half Marathon in which he clocked a 1:33:06.  He considers his greatest accomplishment in triathlon completing the 2016 Ironman Chattanooga.  A stifling heat wave overtook the southern US and the 19% DNF rate was excessive.  The high temperature was 97 degrees with a heat index of 102.  He was able to complete the course (144.6) in 13:14:33, a tremendous time considering the average finish time was 13:59:00 of those who could complete the course.  He felt the race was a celebration of all the training he had done with numerous other G3 members who all raced that day too.  Tim believes that the training for an Ironman in and of itself is a true accomplishment.

    While Tim has no races he would like to forget, he does have one race that stands out that he would love to have a “do-over,” Ironman Puerto Rico 70.3.  After his best ever non river swim, he began having GI issues 20 miles into the bike and vomited 3 miles into the run and ended up walking the majority of the half marathon.

    Tim has a background in track and cross country, which he ran in high school.  He has been a G3 board member since 2016, is 41 years old, and works as a Project Manager for Complete Structural Consulting, a G3 sponsor.  Tim’s goals in the sport are to promote it to get more people off the sidelines and involved as he has seen first hand all of the benefits of the sport, not only from a physical health perspective, but also from all of the great friends and memories that are made through the race preparation.

  • 16 Feb 2017 12:29 PM | Deleted user

            In 2010 as a sophomore at the University of Florida, a friend of Amanda Morgan’s was thinking of doing a triathlon.  At that point, Amanda was 50 lbs heavier and couldn’t run a quarter mile.  She believed she could not accomplish such a feat.  She then got upset with herself for thinking so negatively and signed up.  She completed the Moss Park Sprint Triathlon in October and her life hasn’t been the same since.

             Amanda, who grew up riding horses and has no background in endurance sports, has morphed into a multiple Ironman finisher and a Kona qualifier and as one could expect, lists the experience of the 2015 race and trip as the highlight of her triathlon career.  The best race result she has ever earned is Ironman Maryland in 2014.  Here at the age of 24 she finished in 11:02:41 and posted a blazing fast 5:24:35 on the bike.  This was good for a 2nd place age group finish.  Just one month later she would punch her ticket to the Big Island with a first place finish at Ironman Florida due to personal bests on the bike and run (weather cancelled the swim leg that year).

             Amanda’s advice for people considering a triathlon is to “Just give it a tri!”  She advises to start small and borrow equipment as after your first race you will either hate it or fall in love with the sport and it will quickly change your life.  She also recommends finding a group to train and grow with.

             Amanda joined G3 in 2016 when she moved back to Gainesville to take a job as a 4-H agent at the UF/IFAS Extension Office in Alachua County.  She was involved in TriGators when she was a student and wanted to become involved in the “adult” triathlon community.

             While some races have been better than others, Amanda feels like there was a lesson in all of them that she would never trade the experience for.  In May of 2015 she raced Ironman St. Croix 70.3.  The race is oppressive with rough water, an extremely windy and mountainous bike course, and humidity and heat that make Florida summers feel cool.  However, the experience prepared her for Kona where conditions are equally as challenging.  Plus she had a blast post-race with her mother snorkeling and exploring.

             Amanda’s biggest inspiration has been her mother.  When she first saw an Ironman video, she knew she needed to attempt the impossible.  After finishing her first Ironman (2012 Wisconsin), she set her sights on Kona qualification.  It took a few years of training and fueling that drive to excel to push her to qualification and throughout that journey her mom was her #1 supporter.  She attended every event and became her personal race Sherpa.  She took Amanda’s dream and made it her own in a completely unselfish and caring way.  After that first IM finish, she told her mother of her big dreams.  Her mother believed in her and that was all Amanda needed.  It took three years of training and finding the right coach.  There was no one more proud of her when she crossed the finish line with an age group victory than her mother.  Shortly after qualifying, Amanda’s mother would be diagnosed with a rare and aggressive bone cancer.  She underwent an aggressive resection of nearly half of her face and went through 90 days of radiation therapy.  Sadly, the last treatment fell the day after Amanda’s Kona trip and her mother was unable to attend, as travel was not possible.  While she said that missing Kona was one of her life’s greatest disappointments, she never complained and was still encouraging others around her, even up to her death in early 2016.  Her mother remains her inspiration as she went through incredible suffering yet still found joy, peace, and hope in her everyday journey.  Her favorite color was purple and so Amanda wraps purple bar tape on her bike, the Black Pearl. This way, her mother is always with her watching over her as a guardian angel while cycling on the road.

             In addition to G3, Amanda races for Team Wattie Ink, a “high octane group of hand selected individuals.”  She loves supporting the brand and the team’s sponsors.  She loves the clothing and notes she “could sleep in my tri kit” as it is the most comfortable gear you’ll ever wear.  She notes that Sean or “Wattie” and his wife, professional triathlete Heather Jackson, are two of the finest people you will ever meet.

             Currently, Amanda aims to keep bettering herself athletically and personally.  She is working with a coach, Nick Brodnicki, to help get faster and stronger.  She believes that working with a coach who can tailor your schedule and approach does wonders for improving.  She hopes to remain more consistent and has her eyes on a repeat trip to the Big Island.

  • 09 Nov 2016 5:53 PM | Deleted user

    Wendy Wiggs, now 51, was an avid runner.  She has been running most of her life and loves it.  She used to have a car magnet that stated “running is my Prozac.”  She loves listening to music and

     zoning out on long runs.  However, in 2001, while training for the Disney Marathon, she developed a stress fracture in her foot.  Her podiatrist, a triathlete, suggested that she begin cross training.  She finished the marathon in 4:20:24, which she was happy about.

    After completing the marathon, she began cross training which naturally led to the sport of triathlon.  In May of 2002, just 5 months later, she completed the Fantasy of Flight Triathlon in Polk City, FL.

    Since then, Wendy has competed in many triathlons.  She lists the 2015 Tri Rock Triathlon in Clearwater as her favorite race.  There were many triathletes from Gainesville which made for a fun and warm atmosphere.  She was very disappointed to learn the event was discontinued this year.  She also notes that her best race result was also in 2015 at the Turtle Crawl Sprint Triathlon in Jekyll Island, GA.  She finished the race in 1:45:49 and finished second in her age group.

    When it comes to a race she would like to forget, she lists the Moss Park Sprint Triathlon from 2011.  She became very sick at the end of the race due to dehydration.  She used this as a learning experience and improved upon her race day nutrition/hydration.  Before every race she eats ½ of a bagel with almond butter and banana slices and drinks a bottle of scratch with water.  She also takes two shot blocks 15 minutes before the race begins.  This routine has helped her.

    Wendy lists her fear of open water ocean swimming as her biggest accomplishment in triathlon.  She is thankful for her swimming coach, Karyn Austin, for the improvements in her ability and confidence.

    Wendy would advise a beginner to triathlon to either hire a coach or pair up with an experienced triathlete to learn how to train without having to go through all the trial and error that she endured.

    Wendy loves the sport because it challenges you in three different disciplines.  She joined G3 in 2013 so that she could be around other like-minded athletes who love the same aspects the sport has to offer that she does.  She also loves being at races and seeing her teammates cheering for each other and finds this greatly motivating.

    Wendy wants to improve her cycling and so she purchased a power meter this year with the goal in mind of upping her power and improving her bike splits.  For 2017, she has her sights set on a 70.3 finish.

    Wendy is a married mother of 3 whose husband Johnny is the head baseball coach at Santa Fe College.  She works as a Nurse Practitioner specializing in osteoarthritis, preventive health care, and age management.  Additionally, she provides nutritional testing and counseling to help people learn about vitamin deficiencies they may have.  She recently wrote an article about this topic in the Oct/Nov issue of HOME Magazine.  The link can be found below.


  • 28 Sep 2016 9:15 PM | Deleted user

    At nearly 215 pounds and with diabetes lurking, a doctor’s visit and a chronically injured hamstring led Zac Radke in need of a new hobby he could be passionate about.  He started going to a gym primarily with a focus on building muscle and cardiovascular fitness.  This soon turned in to weight loss.  After a year, Zac progressed from barely getting through a ¼ mile run to racing 5K’s.

    Prior to this, Zac was a self described “couch potato” who played video games and did computer programming all day.  He notes he had no athleticism or physical ability.  However, with hard work and dedication, he was soon running competitively.

    After suffering some injury related setbacks and boredom, he decided to take up cycling to maintain his fitness.  At this point, triathlon seemed a natural progression.  Zac swam recreationally as a child, but never competitively.  He admits he was in for quite a surprise when it came to competitive, open water swimming.  Zac notes that he never really found his place in team sports and he enjoys the singularity of triathlon.

    In March of 2012, Zac took part in his first triathlon, the HITS Ocala SuperSprint.  He finished 6th overall and won his age group.  The following month he would finish his first sprint race at the Child of the Sun Triathlon in Lakeland.  In September of 2012, he completed his first Olympic distance race at the Hammerhead Triathlon in Camp Blanding in 3:02:19.

    Zac lists St. Anthony’s Triathlon as his favorite triathlon as he loves the course, expo, and the atmosphere.  He also enjoys going to the kids triathlon (Meek & Mighty) the day before the race as he finds the children inspiring to watch.

    His favorite race finish to date is the 2013 Hammerhead Aquabike in which he was the overall winner by a single second thanks to a well-rehearsed flying dismount.  He is also proud of his 2015 Hammerhead Olympic Triathlon as this was the first time he broke 2:30 (2:29:13).  His fastest race to date is the Jacksonville Olympic Series #1 in June of 2016 at 2:20:22.  He loved seeing his fellow G3er’s on the course cheering each other on during this race.

    Zac lists persistence as his greatest accomplishement in the sport thus far.  Starting, finishing, or placing in a triathlon doesn’t happen overnight.  He is proud of the steady improvement he has seen over the last 4 years due to persistence and discipline.

    Over these years, he has some nutrition-based superstitions that he has adapted such as not eating sushi weeks before a race.  He also has noted that with time, he takes up much less space in transition.

    Zac has been fortunate and has never had a DNF or major injury during a race and he is very thankful for that.

    For new triathletes, he would advise them to practice the small stuff and to be sure to focus on nutrition and physical recovery.  Practicing race-day fueling is essential.  He also believes in practicing transitions so that there are no surprises on race-day.

    Zac joined G3 in early 2013.  He joined to be surrounded by like-minded people and for the wetsuit discount!  He is thrilled with all of the member involvement and is glad to be a part of it.

    Zac is 30 and is the Information Technology Director for Santa Fe Senior Living.  Now that Zac feels comfortable with Olympic distance racing, he has a goal of completing a 70.3 distance race and is planning on aiming his focus there.

  • 05 Aug 2016 12:34 PM | Deleted user

    As a teenager, Melissa DiStefano wanted to do a triathlon. It wouldn’t be for another 25 years when she would actually compete in a triathlon, the TriGator SuperSprint in 2015, twice beating cervical cancer in the process!

    Melissa has a background in swimming. She enjoyed much success in swimming as a youngster. She began swimming competitively in the 4th grade, eventually qualifying for the US Olympic Trials in 1988, competing in the 200 IM and 100 Butterfly and then qualifying for the 1988 Olympic Games in the 200 individual medley! She wasn't so lucky in the 100 Fly, unfortunately, she suffered a freak accident at the start of the 200 IM, during the trials that left her with two fractured ankles and her Olympic dreams were dashed.

    Many years later Melissa felt that it was time to give Triathlon a chance, the problem was that she couldn’t run a single lap around a quarter mile track without stopping, even as a kid. She downloaded Couch to 5K in her mid-30’s and started to run but was sidelined by pulmonary issues. She felt defeated, but was inspired by her sister who downloaded the same program and found success. With pride for her sister, and a slight pang of jealousy, she tried again. She completed the program and successfully completed a few races, ultimately finishing a few ½ marathons in the process. Now that she could run, it was time to give a triathlon a try, and she has yet to look back.

    Melissa lists the 2015 TriRock Clearwater as her favorite race as it was the first race she had ever done with our club, meeting our members and feeling a tremendous amount of support. She loved the pre-race dinner with her fellow G3 members and enjoyed the post race camaraderie. She was also the 2nd overall female in the Aquabike division.

    Melissa lists the 2016 St. Anthony’s Sprint Triathlon as her best accomplishment, most memorable race, and the race she would most like to forget. Melissa worked very hard to try to compete in and not just complete this race. She took first place in her division. It was not without adversity. After being first out of the water in her group, she successfully completed transition and was on the bike feeling good for the first 2.3 miles when she struck a water bottle lodged within a pothole and crashed. After taking a deep breath, and a few minutes, she checked her bike, which seemed to at least move forward and thinking her injuries were superficial, she continued forward. She had a discomfort in her arm which wouldn’t go away and it wasn’t until the adrenaline had finally worn off somewhere during the run that she knew something was wrong. 

    Turns out it was a fracture of her radius at the elbow. Two weeks later, she would also discover a tibial plateau fracture (broken leg).

    Melissa advises people considering a triathlon to “Just do it!” She says just “get in the pool, swim a lap, or 2, or 10.” She advises not to let one’s circumstances define you, rather you define you! She also notes that your first race should be at the beginning of the season and not the end, because if you love it, you would have to wait until next season to race again.

    Melissa has created a pre-workout and pre-race routine she calls “Breakfast in the Pantry.” When she started training for her first half marathon, the first time she did a predawn run, she returned to a completely awake household. Her

    husband, kids, and dog all informed her that the clamoring arising from the kitchen had awoken them all. Just to prove a point, she now eats her steel cut overnight oatmeal in the pantry prior to workouts so no one can blame their lack of sleep on her. She started posting pictures of this to social meeting and #breakfastinthepantry was born.

    Melissa joined G3 in 2015 so she could be around like-minded athletes. She believes the support and advice have been priceless in her time as a triathlete. Melissa’s goal in triathlon is to continuously be better than her last race. She would also like to be able to run a mile in under 10 minutes.

    Melissa is 40 years old and has accomplished all of this while being a mother of two children (4 and 6), husband, dog and is a business owner. She serves as the Owner/Director of Clinical Relations at Dynamic Health Centers, a medical clinic in Lake City.

  • 12 Jul 2016 4:19 PM | Deleted user

                Scott Thomas’ first exposure to triathlon was when he was on active duty in the Navy.  He had a couple of roommates (one of whom would eventually turn pro and win Vineman twice) that participated in the sport but he was not yet willing to take the plunge. 

    While in the U.S. Naval Academy, he played in a unique form of a sport called Sprint Football.  He lived like a wrestler trying to cut weight before each game, but had a lot of fun continuing his football dreams and playing on a college level.

    After many years of trying to complete the training program for a marathon, he was successful in 2013, although he notes “I looked like I needed the medical tent at the finish line.”  It was then that his wife, Dorothy, encouraged him to a) never do another marathon and b) try a triathlon as an alternative.  Scott had always been an avid cyclist and enjoyed running (which he began doing for fitness as he prepared to enter the U.S. Naval Academy in 1993).  The swimming concerned him, but he took it as the next challenge in his life.

                In May of 2014, Scott completed the Crystal River Sprint where he won the novice division in 1:20:49.  To this day, Scott lists the Crystal River Sprint Series as his favorite race as it is fun, fast, and convenient.

                Since then, Scott has ventured into longer races.  He completed Ironman 70.3 Florida in 2015 and again in 2016.  He notes his 2016 race was his best result to date as he was able to shave 27 minutes off of his 2015 time and he hit all of his time goals for each discipline.

                Scott is 45, is the Chief Financial Officer at Infinite Energy, is a husband, and a father to two children.  Scott believes his best accomplishment in the sport is simply making the commitment to jump in despite his self-doubts about his ability to swim and his concerns about having time to train.  He also would like to forget about the 2015

     Hammerhead Olympic Triathlon as he tore his calf at the 1 mile mark of the run and had to withdraw from the race.

                Scott joined G3 in 2014 after his first race as he wanted to be involved with a group of local people to serve as a resource for group training and questions.  He notes that he enjoys seeing the G3 colors at races.  His prerace routine consists of coffee consumption as he must “have my coffee in the morning or else I shouldn’t be near another human.”

                Scott would advise people who are considering triathlon to take the plunge and go for it.  He believes that, while you may not be comfortable with each aspect of the sport, it is a great way to challenge oneself and a great community to be a part of.

                Scott’s strives to have fun, stay healthy, and continue to improve in the sport.  Each year he tries to take on at least three races and this year, his goal is to break 5:20 at Ironman 70.3 Augusta.

  • 06 Jun 2016 7:45 PM | Deleted user

    While training for a marathon, Craig Petrus, now 43 and a former college baseball player at Barry University in Miami, suffered a calf injury.  His physician suggested

    that in order to maintain his cardiovascular fitness, he should start hitting the bike and the pool.  Once he started doing this, he figured he would try a triathlon.  So in August 2014, Craig completed the 400m/20km/5k Siesta Beach II Sprint Triathlon in 1:26:58 and he hasn’t stopped since.

    Craig contracted the triathlon bug and in just 10 months after that first sprint triathlon, he would complete his first 70.3 distance race at Challenge Atlantic City.  But why stop there?  Amazingly, just 15 months after his first triathlon, Craig would go on to complete that marathon that he had originally been training for.  However, it was after a 2.4-mile swim and 112 mile bike.  He completed Ironman Florida in 2015 in 13:40:28. 

    Craig considers Ironman Florida his greatest accomplishment in triathlon.  It wasn’t just the race day.  It was the entire journey from sign-up through training and to race day that was such a success.

    Craig’s goals in triathlon are to be physically able to race for a very long time and to try and improve on his times year over year.  While Craig would love to one day race Kona, he understands he has a long way to go.

    Craig has a very positive attitude about racing.  He always feels blessed just to be able to race.  He always comes away feeling a great sense of accomplishment whether or not he hits his time goals.  He feels that each race he learns something new about himself and how to race.

    Craig became involved with G3 in 2014, as he wanted to surround himself with other like-minded athletes with positive attitudes.  He also felt it was an opportunity to learn from other seasoned athletes.  Craig loves the culture of triathlon and has been amazed by how supportive triathletes are of one another.

    Craig currently serves as the Director of Career Services for the Warrington College of Business at the University of Florida.  He is married with one child.  Before every race, he huddles with his family and says a prayer of thanksgiving and protection.  

    He advises anyone involved with the sport to not forget to thank those people around you that help you accomplish your goals in triathlon as they are also making tremendous sacrifices.  He also advises people to have fun and continue to push your limits, as you will be amazed at what your mind and body can endure through hard work and dedication.

    Next on Craig’s list, Ironman Augusta 70.3 in September followed by the inaugural Ironman North Carolina in October.  Good luck Craig.

  • 26 Apr 2016 6:36 PM | Deleted user

    In the 1980’s as a teenager, Kelly Wagner watched the IronMan Championships on the Wide World of Sports and knew then that she wanted to compete in a triathlon.  Growing up in Ohio at the time, there were minimal opportunities. 

    From the time she was 8, she took part in ballet.  She danced 3-4 times a week through the end of high school.  She also decided to take up swimming in high school as there were some cute boys on the team.  Her swimming was less than stellar so part way through the season, the coaches asked her to become a diver.

    In college, at The University of Toledo, she began running and cycling, mostly just to stay in shape, but she never lost sight of the sport of triathlon.

    After relocating to Florida, she suddenly found opportunities for triathlon more plentiful and took up the sport.  In 1998, she took part in the Mad Dog Triathlon in St. Petersburg, FL and was hooked.

    In 2015, Kelly realized a dream of finishing an IronMan.  At 42, with 3 elementary school aged children, she took part in IronMan Texas.  After years of dreaming, she achieved this long time goal and pushed her body harder than she ever thought and succeeded in a big way.  She finished 34th of 129 in her age group in a total time of 13:24:39.

    Kelly considers her IronMan performance her best accomplishment in the sport to date.  Her best ever race result was in HITS Ocala in 2015, beating her previous year's time by nearly 5 minutes.  She is also proud of her IronMan FL 70.3 performance in 2015, finishing in under 6 hours and achieving her best ever bike split.

    Kelly would like to forget a Clermont sprint triathlon in 2014.  She was late to the race, forgot her USAT card, and had to quickly set up her transition spot.  She raced to the starting line with no warm up and had to quickly start.  She didn’t perform well, but wouldn’t quit, which she is proud of.

    Kelly notes that she always has to have coffee the morning of race day and likes to say a prayer prior to the race beginning.

    Kelly joined G3 in 2015 at the encouragement of friends.  She is very passionate about triathlon and enjoys being a part of G3 as this keeps her surrounded by others who love it just as much.

    Kelly knows that swimming is the part that gives most people trepidation.  Her advice to people starting off in the sport is to work to get comfortable in the pool and that “success is only a few hundred meters away.”

    Kelly’s long term goal is to one day qualify for Kona.  She knows that she will have to continue to work and be patient, but knows that one day she can make this happen.

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