On Sept. 25, 2016, I reached a milestone in our sport: closing in on the end of my 34th season, I did my 250th multisport event. For those of you who know me or follow my columns, in recent years I have been getting even slower. As I approach membership in the 80-84 age group, I have also been going shorter than I did for the bulk of my career. You also know that 2014 and 2015 were not great seasons for several reasons. And finally, you’ll recall that at the beginning of my first race this year, I was actually thinking of packing it all in. But everything turned around during that race, and it has been a great summer.
Which culminated in what I hope will have been the penultimate race this year, One More Tri, held in Asbury Park, New Jersey. Why penultimate? Well, if the weather holds I will finish the season with my 14th Central Park Duathlon on Oct. 23. But if the One More Tri turns out to be my last of this season, what a season it will have been. I will have done seven races for the first time in a long time. But even more significant, the race was my 250th overall — including triathlons and duathlons of all lengths including the ultra distance in my (much) younger days — over a 34-year span.
OK. Such a nice achievement. But One More Tri is an event that reflects a much more important achievement than me getting to 250. I was so happy to have the chance to share it with the folks who run a series of multisport races, all simultaneously, on the day. For One More Tri is sponsored by Special Olympics New Jersey, and uniquely, I think (readers can correct me if I’m wrong), Special Olympics athletes are competing at the same time as the rest of the field.
You want to be inspired? Try this event on for size. The races included a sprint triathlon, a super-sprint triathlon, a sprint triathlon relay, a super-sprint triathlon relay, a duathlon (sprint-distance, the one I did), a duathlon relay, a super-sprint duathlon, an aquabike and a super-sprint aquabike. There were over 700 athletes, volunteers and 15 sponsors. That number included 43 Special Olympics athletes, some of whom raced with “Unified partners” and “angels.” A total of $69,000 was raised for Special Olympics New Jersey projects.
And so for me, this was a very special race in which to do my 250th. The icing on the cake, for which I must thank the race organizers, led by Jeanene Leppert, Special Events Director for Special Olympics New Jersey, was the very special plaque memorializing my 250th which they presented to me at the end of the race. I will treasure it for the rest of my life.
One last observation. It was symbolic for me that my 250th was held in Asbury Park, New Jersey. For in 1906 an event took place there, which if it had not happened, I would not exist. Indeed, it was there in a hotel lounge that my paternal grandfather, Henry Jonas, and my paternal grandmother, then Rena Bonheim, first met.
This series of thoughts and recommendations about multisport racing by Dr. Steve Jonas is, over time, drawn in part from his book, "101 Ideas and Insights for Triathletes and Duathletes" (Monterey, CA: Healthy Learning/Coaches Choice, 2011), from which text is used with permission. The book can be purchased here and is available at Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com.
Steve’s most recent multisport book is "Duathlon Training and Racing for Ordinary Mortals®: Getting Started and Staying with It" (Guilford, CT: Globe Pequot Press/FalconGuides, 2012), available at Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com.
His first book on multisport racing, "Triathloning for Ordinary Mortals®" 2nd Ed. (New York: WW Norton, 2006) also can be found at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
Dr. Jonas recently was featured in World Class Magazine. Click here to read the article.