Racers swim, bike, run to win triathlon
CAMP KINSER, OKINAWA, Japan -- The starting line is crowded with racers on edge, eager to hear the signal. Eyes focus on the starter as she counts down. The signal sounds, the timer starts, and off they go.
Marine Corps Community Services hosted a reverse triathlon May 18 at the Camp Kinser Fitness Center.
In a traditional triathlon, racers start with a swim, move to a bike race, and end with a run. However, the reverse triathlon began with a 5-kilometer run, transitioned to a 15-kilometer bike race, and ended with a 400-meter swim.
U.S. service members, their dependents and Okinawa community members participated in the triathlon.
Many of the participants enjoy taking part in events such as the triathlon and take the time to attend when possible, according to Unten Mamoru, a triathlon participant from Okinawa.
“I enjoy athletic events,” said Mamoru. “The chance to do so with a group is most enjoyable because we have competition and a chance to exercise together.”
Athletic events such as the triathlon serve as effective ways to build friendships with the surrounding community, according to Anastasia Banke, the race director and a sports specialist with the Camp Kinser Fitness Center, Marine Corps Community Services.
“The people who participate in this kind of activity enjoy doing it,” said Banke, a New Albany, Pa., native. “Having a large group of people who share the same interest doing what they enjoy is always a great way to make new friends.”
Winners were selected from the age groups of 12-17, 18-29, 30-39, and 40 and above with the first, second and third place members of each age group receiving plaques in honor of their achievement. The overall winner of the event was Keito Matsuda with a total time of 54 minutes, 38 seconds. The overall fastest female competitor was Mitsuha Ikeda with a time of 1 hour, 7 minutes, 31 seconds.
Both service members and residents of Okinawa appreciated the opportunity to participate in the event, whether they competed or were spectators, according to Capt. Jay P. Dodge, a field artillery officer with 3rd Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force.
“Any chance to improve our relations with our host country is important,” said Dodge, a Davison, Mich., native. “It’s even better when we are doing something we both enjoy because you can share in the experience and the competitive spirit this kind of event (offers).”