August 10, 2013 9:58:17 PM
Brandt Galloway doesn't put on any airs.
Just because Galloway has competed in and completed -- that is crucial -- two Ironman Triathlons, he doesn't consider himself to be one of the "gung-ho guys" who allows training to become their only focus.
Instead, Galloway, 38, approaches events like Ironman Triathlons and others like the second annual Possum Town Triathlon as things to finish and to have fun in.
Galloway and his wife, Martha, plan to be a part of the fun next week for Columbus' second sprint triathlon, which will kick off at 7 a.m. Saturday at the Columbus Lake at the Lock and Dam off Wilkins Wise Road in Columbus.
Brandt Galloway said he wanted to be part of the inaugural event and was impressed with the turnout, atmosphere, and organization, so it was natural to come back for more.
"I was anticipating it to be a good race," said Brandt Galloway, who lives in Columbus. "I did not know it was going to turn out to be such a big crowd. It was much more than I expected. A lot of people (117 started and finished) showed up, which is a testament to the job (Brad and Melissa Atkins, the organizers) have done with it. It is a good course."
The USA Triathlon-sponsored race will be nearly the same as last year's event. Competitors of all ages will start. They will compete in a 66-yard swim, a 17-mile bike ride, and a 3.3-mile run. The event is open to individuals and to relay teams.
A year ago, 117 competitors started and finished. This year, Brad Atkins said a few changes and additions have been made. The biggest difference from last year is the swimming portion of the triathlon has been moved in an attempt to avoid stumps underwater that some participants encountered. By moving the swimming course, Atkins said the transition area -- where athletes change out of their swimming clothing and get into their cycling gear -- also has been moved. But Atkins said the cycling and running courses remain the same, and can be seen at the race's website: possumtowntriathlon.com.
Registration is $65 for individuals and $120 for relay teams. Registration is available online until 8 a.m. Aug. 16. There is no race-day registration. Interested participants can register from 3-7 p.m. Friday at the race site when race packets are handed out. Race packets also will be distributed from 5:30-6:45 a.m. Saturday.
Brandt Galloway finished seventh in the men's 30- to 34-year-old age division with a time of 1 hour, 39 minutes, 43 seconds. Martha took second in the same age group in the women's competition (1:43.42). Brandt said Martha may very well beat him this year because she runs a lot and now knows what to expect after competing last year in her first sprint triathlon.
Martha acknowledged she does try to run every four to five miles every Tuesday and Thursday morning. She also said she cycled and ran earlier in the day Saturday to help put her in the right frame of mind for next weekend.
"It was a lot of fun last year. The weather was perfect," Martha Galloway said. "I didn't know what to expect, but I had a blast."
Martha said she swam a lot growing up, so she wasn't nervous or scared for the initial part of the race. She said a flat cycling portion helped her ease into the 3.3-mile run, which was her most comfortable discipline.
Martha admitted she didn't wear a watch and she didn't set a time goal last year. That could change, though, after she heard Brandt say she might beat him.
"It is good healthy fun," Martha said. "I really appreciate Brad and Melissa putting something like this on because it gives people a goal to train for."
For Brandt, this year's event marks a move to the 35- to 39-year-old age group. He isn't sure how he will stack up against the competition in the bracket, but he is ready to put his training to the test. He said he and Martha cycle a good bit together and swim at the YMCA when they get the chance.
Still, he acknowledged there is a big difference in the amount of preparation he had to do for the Ironman Triathlon he competed in 2004 in Florida and the Ironman Triathlon he did in 2007 in Idaho. In those settings, he said "slow and steady" is the way to go. On Saturday, he expects to be able to go a little harder and not be conscious of having to conserve energy for the long haul.
"I hope I do the same or a little better this year," Galloway said. "I haven't trained quite as hard as last year."
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.