(On Saturday, 150 participants from ten different states were in Bismarck, North Dakota for the BISMAN Triathlon.)
Triathlon is a different kind of sport. For most races, it’s about who crosses the finish line first. While there’s some of that, in triathlon, it’s maybe a little more you vs. yourself.
It takes something a little more to sign up for a race that puts you on the water’s edge along with over a hundred other athletes. This is not a lap swim with lane ropes. At times it’s a little more like a wrestling match.
Getting out of the water, even putting on your helmet is a chore. On the bike, with the field spread apart a bit more, you’re surrounded by your thoughts, not a bunch of athletes. Things like, “Do I remember how to change a flat tire?” “Where is the turnaround?” and “Have I been drinking enough water?”
The run after the bike is appropriately called a brick, because of the feeling of moving your leg muscles after racing for the better part of an hour on your bike. Again, it’s a mental sport here: “How far until the finish?” “It’s too much.” “Why am I doing this, again?”
It’s a difficult sport and it takes a ton of grit. For some, it’s personal: “I want to do this to finish, not to win or get a specific time,” said Alison Shape of Fargo, “I need to do something I can be proud of. I feel like I have failed myself on so many occasions and this has always been a goal of mine. So I am going to do it!!”
For Ella Koleen Salita: “It’s my dream to do a triathlon, this is the year!”
Natasha Gerwing: "How many people can say they have raced in North Dakota?"
Abigail Katz: "This will be my first race and I wanted to try something that would challenge me physically."
Erica Veil: "I’ve been an avid runner for decades (5k, 10k, half, and full). I’ve wanted to try a triathlon for ages and just need to sign myself up to give me that motivation. I want my inaugural tri to be in my home town. I’m doing this mainly for myself but also to be a positive role model to my 3-year-old son. I want to show him that you can do anything you set your mind to if you just try and show up. My motto for this year is 'what else can I do?'"
Samantha Henke: "I have been interested in sports, fitness, and hiking for most of my adult life, and am lucky to have a family who is active together, and my husband and I have enjoyed introducing our two daughters to sports and outdoors… I have been living with Rheumatoid Arthritis for over a decade and do not like to let it slow me down. I want to be active in mind, body, and spirit, and I like to think of my RA as 'N/A'... so staying as active and healthy as I can for as long as I can for my family is part of training for an event like this. Cannot wait!"
Kellee Black: Ella Koleen Salita: "It's my dream to do a triathlon, this is the year!"
Madeline Graff: "Second triathlon and shooting for a PR!"
Kristi Krebsbach: "I turned 50 in April, so I am celebrating being 50 by doing at least one race a month for the rest of the year, and checking an extra special activity off my bucket list, a triathlon, and this seemed to be the perfect time and location for it!"
Jane Hutzol: "I did not get to last year due to weather delays. I had to defer to this year."
Jessica Gregerson: "Last year was my first-ever triathlon and it was awesome! Back for more!"
Shawna Wing: "40th birthday bucket list!"
Jessica Peatross: "I'm getting older and want to add swimming and biking to my routine."
Madeline Mortenson: "I’ve never competed in a triathlon or really any race before, but the variety within the race has always interested me since I enjoy being active and outside. After having my first baby in 2021, I felt empowered by what my body could do but also so much weaker than I did before pregnancy. Training for an event like this has helped me to feel strong again. I know my body can do incredible things, and I want to push myself to be the healthiest I can be and a strong example for my daughter."
Kathleen Key Imes: "Imes", "Because I still can…. Because doing the BisMan Tri every summer keeps me motivated and “tuned up!”"
Karissa Kautzman: "I am running this because I want to push myself in another challenge and something I've never done before. Plus, I'm scared to swim in the open water so I might as well just commit to it and do it."
Pamela Hermes: "A race I used to do before I moved from Fargo to Indiana 25+ years ago, and one of my college roommates I haven't seen for years is going to do the race. Also, I'm training for a fall 1/2 IM and need to stay motivated while I am back in ND/MN for a long vacation."
Brenda Roche: "To continue my health journey"
Cody Testroet: "Cause I’m fat and this helps me be less fat"
David Ukestad: "To stay in shape and to show my kids why it is important to be healthy"
Chase Monson: "For fun at a great event"
Nathan Brunsell: "Brian Sitz told me to ;)"
Matt Bianco: "I'm just trying to challenge myself and keep moving. I've always wanted to complete a triathlon and a sprint is good way to start."
Jacob Goergen: "Former college swimmer. Figured why not"
Kenneth Pearce: "I am trying to do a triathlon in every state and if all goes as planned in 2023 you will be my North Dakota race and my 37th state."
Jonah Lantto: "A few years ago I really wasn't happy with the image I saw in the mirror and a big part of that was my health. I started swimming with a friend when he commented that I was a really strong swimmer and that I should do a triathlon. That was in 2018, but I didn't stick with it, and by 2020 I was nearly 40 pounds overweight. It was in the fall of 2020 that I drew a line in the sand and started my path to a healthier, stronger way of living. Still inspired by my friend's belief that I could complete a triathlon, I did just that in 2021. I've been back every year since and I don't plan on ever stopping."
Josh Askvig: "I enjoy this local race, you do such a nice job making it welcoming, fun and all about getting out and enjoying the experience."
Jeffrey Zickus: "I am aiming to do a triathlon in each of the 50 states. I will only have 6 left to go after this one! Last year I flew to North Dakota to participate in the race and was at the starting line ready to go, but with the multiple storms/delays I ended up not being able to compete as I had to get back to the airport to catch my flight home. So crossing my fingers for better weather this time!"
Gabriel Anderson: "mental toughness"
Brett Bettag: "To challenge myself"
Matthew Bauer: "I have been placing a greater emphasis on physical fitness in my life during the past few years."
Michael Cartwright: "Because I'm a champion."
David Forman: "This is my 27th straight year completing at least one triathlon."
Joseph Baker: "I’m young and able, and I want to have these experiences in life."
Larry Thackwell: "Working in area until winter."
Theodore Kelly: "New challenge"
…Who said racing for an hour and a half was a sprint, anyway?
Good job, Athletes.