Wide range of participants attend triathlon

By Gus Bode

From 8-year-olds to 83-year-olds, and former collegiate swimmers to college students, participants in the ‘Rec your body Triathlon’ included people from all different backgrounds.

The triathlon, held Saturday at the Recreation Center, began with a 10-minute swim, followed by a 20-minute ride on a stationary bike and concluded with a 15-minute run.

Cay Gerlock, coordinator of the event, said it was great to see so many people at the event.


‘It’s really a one-size-fits-all race,’ Gerlock said. ‘Everyone can go at their own ability level. It makes it really nice for people wanting to get into triathlons.’

Don Jones, an 83-year-old retired coal miner from Mt. Vernon, said this was his third consecutive triathlon.

Jones said he enjoys being able to compete in the event at his age.

‘I get a kick out of it,’ Jones said. ‘I suffer for it the next day, but I really enjoy doing it. I think this is a fine program and activity to take part in. It’s a neat thing, it really is.’

While Jackie Gomes didn’t participate in the triathlon, she said she enjoyed watching three of her children compete.

Gomes, a physical therapist from Du Quoin, watched as her children: Grace, 12; Caleb, 11 and Rachel, 8, competed in the event for the second consecutive year.

‘It’s really important because it works a lot on their discipline,’ Gomes said. ‘Especially with them waking up early on a Saturday morning. They all woke up excited and had everything ready to go.’


Caleb Gomes said he enjoyed competing in the triathlon, despite how difficult it was.

‘It was a little tiring, but it was good,’ Caleb said. ‘I like swimming a lot and we compete in swimming during the winter and summer.’

Derek Allen, a sophomore from Lake Zurich studying biology, said he enjoyed competing in the triathlon because he has not been involved in many activities since coming to SIUC.

Allen said he played tennis and ran cross country in high school, but has wanted to get involved in activities since coming to SIUC.

‘I go to the Rec every once in a while, but it would be good to start back up again,’ Allen said.

Allen said he would probably come back for next year’s event.

Herman Louw, an assistant swimming coach at Drake and former SIUC swimmer from 2000-01, won the men’s event, accumulating 2,883.03 total points. Louw also broke the record in the swimming portion of the triathlon, swimming 38 laps in 10 minutes.

On the women’s side, Lisa Jaquez, a junior from Loyalton, Calif. studying community health education and a member of SIUC’s swim team last year, said winning the event came as a shock.

‘I expected to do well in the swim portion, but I really didn’t hold much of an advantage in the biking or running portion of the event,’ Jaquez said. ‘It came as a surprise.’

Stile Smith can be reached at 536-3311 ext. 268