2002 Triathlete of the Year

Presented by Philip Munoz to Lynn Powell

With the 2002 season behind us and the 2003 season looming on the horizon, we have a chance to look back at the many highlights.

There was Felton Wright going to Ironman Hawaii. He emailed us descriptions of his preparation before the event and then let us in on how he felt during the race as he struggled with a stomach bug, overcame it, and finished strong.

Lisa Purl completed Ironman Wisconsin and now has the pro’s looking behind them to see where that chick from Tallahassee is. She is now bound for Ironman Hawaii.

Wallace Randell and Tom Rowland finished the Great Floridian Ironman, while Bob Keller our ageless veteran and last years’ Tri-athlete of the Year winner went to WORLD’S short and long course duathlon championships.

Jeff Bowman, Geoff Likens, Kay Herzog Jaynes, Tony and Anne Guillen, Carol Hageseth and Tom Rowland all finished Ironman Florida. Oh and Rob Roller qualified for Ironman Hawaii at the same race, while my favorite Bruce Lynn finally become an Ironman.

But there were some low points as well.

Mary Jane Tappen went to National’s and after a great swim and rocking bike ride picked up some thumb tacks left on the road by locals. Ouch that hurt.

Sue Kelly took a newbie prospect out for a ride and broke her collar bone when they collided, Alan Cox ripped his rotator cuff and Troy Krause fell off his bike and crushed his hip socket. That REALLY hurt. I’m happy to report that Sue, Alan and Troy are on the mend and will be back!!

Like most long-winded award nominations, this one starts at the beginning. While most people remember the 60’s as the era of the peace movement, free love, war, riots and Woodstock we will remember it as the decade for a far more important event— the birth of the 2002 Tri-Athlete of the Year.

It all started when Santa Claus delivered that first bike, a miniature two-wheeled sidewalk bike. It didn’t take long to graduate to a black-framed three speeder, which a jealous sister attempted to borrow on several occasions. That was the bike that developed those quad and calf muscles necessary to do the Food Lion route on Wednesdays and the dead zone on Saturday.
At age six there was that diving accident at a motel in New Hampshire that required an emergency room visit. Giving up her diving career our nominee fortunately learned to swim at the Y. That empty bleach bottle used as a floatation device is gone now, but it was at the Y that our nominee perfected the stroke now used under the bubble at Myers Park and in Trousdale pool in the early morning hours and freezing cold temperatures. Our nominee has come a long way in just a few short years. Swimming 1000 yards was once a “good” workout. Now anything less than 3000 is considered “slacking off.”

One can not talk about our winner without talking about running. When she tried sprints in junior high her coach spotted talent. Unfortunately the coach didn’t spot any talent in the sprinting events and he suggested she “run the longer distances— much longer.” The longest event they had back then was the two-miler. This must have seemed like a marathon in those days, but it was where the seed was sown to become an endurance athlete later in life. Our nominee completed her first marathon in 1997 at Disney and has completed several since then. She became more and more competitive as time progressed and her running has been consistently outstanding since as she set PR’s at various distances over the span of several years. She ran a PR of 3:49 at the Jacksonville Marathon in1999 in the pouring rain, a 5k PR of 22:59 at the Firecracker Run in 2000 and more recently a 10k PR of 49:41 at Turkey Trot in 2002. However, you may want to avoid our winner towards the end of a long race, as there seems to be a bit of testiness.

The road to being a Tri-athlete has had its ups and downs. For example, the time our winner showed up for a duathlon and had a good run for the first part of the race only to find that the pedal was missing on the bike coming out of the transition area. She had no choice but to stop. There was the time our winner did a Tri in Jacksonville and that evening did the Lions Bridge run in St. Augustine. And once she did the Emerald Coast Tri in Panama City and the next day did Demolition Man Tri in Ft Walton. There was that one Tri with the really slimy swim but even that didn’t deter our nominee. This past year our winner finished the Gulf Coast Half Ironman in the sweltering heat and broke six hours. Our nominee has won age group awards in several Tri’s and has steadily improved to the point of whipping up on her training partners. With the goal of completing an Ironman in 2004, we know our nominee’s best years are yet to come.

However for the accomplishments she has already achieved, her perseverance, and her commitment to herself and her sport, and for always encouraging others to join in the fun, we award the 2002 Tri-Athlete of the Year to Lynn Powell.