Race Coverage

Good Times...


By Doobie Kurus

And the winner is…”blah, blah, blah” Who cares? (Other than the winner I guess) Don’t get me wrong. Someone’s got to win, and it’s pretty impressive when they do. BUT, for every winner, there’s hundreds of “finishers”, many of which rarely, if ever, get recognized. At the Hopkins Royal Tri (HoRT), we strive to make the winners and the finishers, and really anyone who’s a part of the event, including volunteers and spectators, feel welcomed and appreciated. After all, the only time that really matters, is whether or not you had a good time! And it looked and sounded like a good time was had by many, if not all.

So, first off, thank you to the various youth groups (Hopkins HS Gymnastics, Theatre, Girls Soccer, and Pep Band) plus Team RWB (an armed forces veterans group that promotes fitness amongst injured vets) that volunteer at the HoRT. From setting up/taking down equipment, to course marshaling, to handing out food and water, we would not be able to do the event without them. We also would not be able to have donated over $50,000 back to the local community over our first 6 years. Thank you to the fans/spectators that come out to cheer everyone on. We hope that having names on the race bibs helps you so that you can even encourage people you didn’t know. We also hope the later start times, the playground for the kids, the free post race food (for all) and the great sightlines, made it enjoyable for you too.

Here’s some little known facts about the race this year. We had at least 18 people that registered for the HoRT each of our first 6 years. To thank them, we are giving them a free entry into HoRT for “lucky year #7”. It’s the least we can do for believing in us that first year, and sticking with us ever since. We had participants from 9 different states, which is nice to see people come travel to be a part of our event. Our oldest participant was 81 years young (Judy the “T-Rex” Rykken). Judy, the recipient of our #1 race bib and person that started off our event, displayed such good sportsmanship that she took the time to...

personally say hello to each participant throughout the race, which caused her to finish towards the end of the event, where she waited for the remaining triathletes to cross the finish line. She even had an entourage of finishers, fans, and friends, run with her down the finish line chute. Very cool! Our youngest participant was listed as being 1. We assume that was a typo, but you never know. We did have numerous young children run across the finish line with their parents…AND that is totally fine and welcomed. Triathlon training can take us away from our loved ones, so what a great way to reconnect. Speaking of age, a belated Happy Birthday to Josh Abbott and Jenna Mitchler, whose birthdays were race day this year. We also asked people about what their first tri was. For many, the Hopkins Royal Tri was it, and for that, we are honored. The races people reported was so cool. There were well loved ones, like TimberMan, Heart of the Lake, Brewhouse and Lake Minnetonka. There were some awesome ones that sadly are no longer around, like Chaska, Lake Marion, and Minneman. And there were some we weren’t familiar with, like Wall, Paperchase, Schooley Mountain, and Devil’s Lake. There were a few with some really cool names like Budweiser, No Label Brewery, Pardeeville, Mermaid, and my favorite, the Shubie Dooby Tri!

teri1.jpgNow here’s some of the things you may have missed. You may have noticed Richard Pruitt (wearing the wide brimmed sun hat and knee braces) walking across the finish line. He has MS (multiple sclerosis) but MS doesn’t have him. Ray Jarosik (RayJ on his race bib) did his first tri ever at HoRT last year. Not pleased with his performance from, he trained even harder in the off season, and drastically improved his finish times. Terri McConnell, the woman people saw wearing a neck brace, has been a participant of HoRT since the 2014 as her very first tri ever. Having worked her way up the distances, she was poised to take on IronMan WI last week, but was involved in a bike on bike accident last month that sent her to the hospital. Down, but not out, and not wanting to break her streak of doing the HoRT, she asked permission (and received it) to do the run portion of the tri. Her husband, Pete, did the swim and bike on his own, and then walked the entire way with her. Aww! Then there were Dan Litzenberg, Liz Steele, and Sarah Kim, all “students” of the tri class we offered through the rec dept. They finished within .12 of a second of each other. Dan and Liz’s times made sense, as they are a couple, and Dan waited in transition for Liz so they could finish together. Sarah just happened to finish at the same time. See what happens when you train together! Clint Hetchler was also in the class and it paid off. Last year, Clint was unsuccessful in swimming the longer swim distance. This year, he registered for the mini-sprint, and like so many others have done, managed to do each of the entire longer sprint distances come race day. About the only downside to Clint’s performance that morning was the “Go Pack!” he requested for his race bib. Skol Vikes! How about Yolanda Hunter (aka Yo), the well known local fitness instructor that was making her tri debut? She was nervous as can be, but rocked it on race day. The swim angel that went out into the lake with her was sharing about how fast Yolanda swam (albeit a little off course). Go Yo! Did you know we had 3 generations of one family (James Barthel, Carrie Kalvik, and Jai & Leo Kalvik) participate this year. Just goes to show that triathlons are good family fun, no matter the age.

These are just a few of the numerous lesser known stories that happen every year at the HoRT, and events all over. They might not receive a trophy, get to go up on the podium, or be asked for an autograph, but they’re winners in our book! Hope to see you next year for the 7th edition of the Hopkins Royal Triathlon. Will you be royal? Will you rule? Will you remember to sign up before we sell out?

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