Ross Decker ran, swam and cycled his way to a gold medal in one of the most grueling sporting events the Town of Payson annually hosts — the sprint triathlon.
Decker covered the course in 1:07:57 to slip past former Payson High School three-sport star Carlos Lopez, the silver medalist, who was clocked in 1:07.59.
Decker’s best showing in the three events was scored in the running, which he won in 19:48.
He was second in biking and fourth in swimming. Decker was entered in the 40-49 men’s age division, which he also won.
Lopez might attribute his second-place finish to a lack of expertise in swimming, an event in which he was 21st. Lopez, now a university student, was third in both the cycling and running.
Lopez did win the 20-29-years male age division title.
In the women’s division, Carolyn Fruth was first in 1:24.20. She also took the gold in the 40-49 women’s age group.
In the 15-19-years boys division, Francisco Castornea was first in 1:27.07. Craig Brandenburg won the 30-39 men’s title in 1:19:29.
In the 50-59-years men’s competition, Richard Bagley turned in a clocking of 1:43.57 and was first.
Dean Paxson took the 60-69-years championship with a time of 1:34.15.
In the women’s age groups, Allysun Collar was first among the 20- to 29-year-olds in 1:33.16. Emily Bloom took the 30-39-years crown with an ET of 1:30.34. Karen Jordan claimed 50-59-years honors in 1:53.51 and Judie Shyman’s time of 1:58.51 was fast enough for the 60-69-years crown.
A field of 118 participants competed in the triathlon.
The turnout was considerably larger than the 41 who turned out for the inaugural Payson Triathlon in 2006.
What are they?
Triathlons, which originated in Hawaii but now take place all over the world, include a 2.4-mile swim, 110-mile bike ride and a full 26.1-marathon.
Shorter “sprinting” triathlons, like the ones held in Payson, are among the most popular sporting events in the country. Although distance can vary from event to event, they typically cover about a quarter of the distances of the longer marathons.
The Payson competitions have traditionally included a 500-yard swim, a 15-mile bike race and a 3.2-mile run.
Although the prefix “tri” means three, triathlons actually consist of five events, the swim, transition from swim wear to bike gear (T-1), the cycling, transition from cycling to running (T-2), and the run.