106°F
weather icon Clear

Pumpkinman would not be smashed

Athletes from around the globe gathered in Boulder City Saturday for the 10th annual Pumpkinman Triathlon. Although the event was marred by tragedy in the swimming death of one competitor, it was an otherwise upbeat day energized by the last-minute reopening of Lake Mead National Recreation Area, where two of the three events were held.

The competition consists of three events: swimming, cycling and running, in that order. The most extreme is the Half Iron Man, which has a 1.2 mile swim, a 56-mile bike ride, and 13.1 miles of running. The cycle portion includes a climb of 2,000 feet from Lake Mead into the mountains, while the run ends with a 200-foot incline leading into Wilbur Square in Boulder City.

There are less extreme events, including relay races that make it accessible to wider group of competitors.

Until Wednesday the major concern had been whether Lake Mead would reopen in time for the event. Without it, the triathlon would have been a foot race, which is not what competitors came for.

Ross Meldrum from Edinburgh, Scotland, registered for Pumpkinman 10 months ago. He was determined to compete, at considerable expense, no matter what. For that he brought his wife, Kirsty, and two sons Jamie, 9, and Scott, 10.

They found out about the government shutdown “just before leaving home,” Kirsty said, but “the only question was, do you take the bike?” Indeed they did. British Airways allowed them to substitute the bike for one piece of luggage, at no additional charge. As things turned out, Ross got to use it.

While Ross swam in Lake Mead Saturday morning, Kirsty was more forthcoming about Ross’ training than he was willing to say.

“He took up triathlon three years ago,” she said. “It’s a bit like a bug, isn’t it? You realize there’s an ulterior motive to every vacation plan. Last month it was, ‘Do you fancy a trip to Austria?’ “

“I had a great day,” Ross said later, “but was caught off guard by the hills on the bike course.” Even so he place fourth in his age (36) division.

Pumpkinman is his seventh and last event this year, he said. He began in April at the Scottish Borders — and is rewarding himself with a family vacation to Palm Springs, Calif. Next stop? Iron Man in Austria — most likely, without the wife and kids.

Although most competitors came from the region, the first runner across the finish line Saturday, barely an hour and a half after the start, was Luigi Grullan of the Dominican Republican.

Henderson favorite Paul Duncan placed third, sandwiching second-place finisher Mark Graham from Las Vegas. Duncan recently returned from a Hawaiian honeymoon with Angela Naeth, where they were content for once to sit on the sidelines for an Iron Man competition. Naeth placed fifth in her first Iron Man competition at Lake Tahoe last month. Next year she will head to Iron Man Melbourne where, Pumpkinman organizer Michelle Lund confidently predicts, Naeth will begin her trek toward winning World Iron Man.

Duncan, a local trainer and long-distance runner who ran the sprint Saturday, said his third-place finish was because running a shorter race is harder for him, not easier.

“Sprint’s the hardest — you gotta go full out,” he said. “With a long run you have to settle in and steady the pace.” The difference at the end was apparent, as practiced sprinters burst across the finish line while the longer-distance runners like Duncan cruised across at an even speed.

It may be too soon to predict next year’s turnout, but the event still seems to be in growth mode after 10 years, this year’s shutdown notwithstanding. Last year’s event had 1,300 competitors, Lund said. This year was more like 1,000, although final numbers are not yet available.

“On Oct. 1 registration shut down when the government shut down,” she said. They expected a last-minute burst of locals who registered after Lake Mead reopened.

Boulder City local Staci Selinger was one of them. Selinger, who trains children at the Boulder City swimming pool at Broadbent Park, waited until Thursday to sign up for the sprint because “I didn’t know the park would be open,” she said.

Training and competing runs in her family: Not only did her 58-year-old father compete in the bike relay, but daughters Sierra, 14, swam relay and Audrey, 11 — who has completed since the age of 4 — ran relay. Dad and daughters raced as a team — Fly by Night — and place third. Staci placed second in her age division and sixth overall.

THE LATEST
Not a pint-sized decision

Monday, the Boulder Dam Brewing Company posted something on Facebook that was unlike their normal posts about a new seasonal beer, upcoming band or their popular game nights. It was something they hoped they would never have to announce – their closure.

Turf reduction sees pushback

The second public meeting regarding the proposed reduction in turf at the Boulder City Municipal Golf Course was envisioned as the kind of input-lite that the first meeting back in April was. But the packed room at the Elaine K. Smith Building on Monday wasn’t having it.

Chamber event hosts members, special guest

When Boulder City Chamber of Commerce CEO Jill Rowland Lagan was introducing videos from those speaking on behalf of the chamber, few expected to see a former president doing so.

Dollar Tree closer to opening

If there was any doubt that the former 99 Cents Only Store in Boulder City would soon become a Dollar Tree, recently-placed signs should answer that question.

Public weighs in on proposed annexation of private land

For the last several months, Acting City Manager Michael Mays told the council that city staff has been working with the owners of a small plot of land in the Eldorado Valley who have requested annexation. In other words, they would like to be a part of Boulder City.

Salon owner has no plans to retire

Whether it’s been hairstyles to resemble Farrah Fawcett and Dorothy Hamill in the 1970s, Princess Diana or Madonna in the 1980s, Jennifer Aniston and Britney Spears of the 1990s to those hot styles of today, Jo Ann Beneda has seen them all.

Bobcat bake sale

Ron Eland/Boulder City Review

Lagan’s sights set on Paris

In less than three weeks, Lexi Lagan will be competing in her second Summer Olympic Games with a collective cheer of support from her hometown of Boulder City.

But is there really a shortage?

Getting Boulder City out of a more than decade-long stretch where no city manager has lasted as long as it takes a student to graduate from BCHS was the overriding theme of discussion at this week’s city council meeting.