Athletes race for the finish in the Mt. Chocorua race of the fifth annual Circle Triathlon. (Jeff Ferland) (click for larger version)
September 05, 2012ASHLAND — Athletes of all ages gathered at Riveredge Marina on Squam Lake for the fifth annual Circle Triathlon Sunday, Sept. 2 to help support the Circle Program, which is now celebrating its 20th anniversary.
Though weather conditions were overcast and rain poured down occasionally, about 500 athletes came out in support of the Circle Program. They had their choice of three races to fit their skill level — the Mt. Chocorua race, which is a sprint-distance triathlon featuring a quarter-mile swim, 12-mile bicycle tour, and a 2.7-mile run; the Mt. Morgan race (200 yard swim, three mile bike, and half-mile run); and, for younger athletes looking for the triathlon experience, the Mt. Rattlesnake race, which featured a swim of 50 yards, bicycle race of 1.4 miles, and quarter-mile run.
Event Directors Barry Gaw and Martha Macomber were excited to again host the Circle Triathlon for their fifth year. Gaw and Macomber attributed the success of the race to the community, which they said has really embraced the event.
Macomber said if she and Gaw were to disappear, she had no doubt that community members would step forward to continue hosting the Circle Triathlon.
According to Macomber, they usually raise about $40,000, or one-tenth of the annual operating budget for the Circle Program.
"That's not bad for one day," added Macomber.
Macomber said they have a great volunteer base for the triathlon, with community members, local high school and college students and Circle mentors from around the state volunteering time to help make the event possible. Macomber also thanked students from the Holdernes School for coordinating the bike course, and students from Plymouth Regional High school for coordinating the running course. She also thanked Gaw for transforming his marina into a race course and donating labor to help with race preperations.
Both Macomber and Gaw are on the Circle Program Board of Directors, and said they first started the event to help promote health and fitness in the community and raise funds for the Circle Program.
Gaw, who runs Riveredge Marina, said the triathlon is now in the fifth year because of the community support and participation.
"Everyone comes together and participates," said Gaw. "It brings friends and families together."
Macomber said the event also offers local non-profit organizations the opportunity to raise community awareness at their tents, set up by the finish line.
First place male athletes in the Mt. Chocorua sprint triathlon were Jesse Kropelnicki of Massachusetts, with a time of 54 minutes, eight seconds, followed by Mark Miller of Marlborough with a time of 55 minutes, 57 seconds, and Fabin Stocek of Plymouth with a time of 59 minutes, 13 seconds.
After the race, Kropelnicki said he has raced in more than 200 triathlons, and the Circle Triathlon bike course is one of the most challenging he has seen.
First place female athletes were Celeste St. Pierre of Lincoln with a time of one hour, six minutes; Molly Zahr of Bedford with a time of one hour, seven minutes; and Heather Drummond of Wilmot with a time of one hour, 10 minutes.
Circle Program Executive Director Kathleen M. Kearns said they are thrilled to be celebrating their 20th year in service. Kearns said they now have volunteer mentors in 29 towns around the state which aid young girls from fifth grade through high school. According to Kearns, the Circle program helps give adolescent girls,usually in low income homes, opportunities to attend summer camp, get involved with community service and plan for their future. Kearns explained that each girls is matched with a mentor based on geography and interests and they stay together through their time in the program.
"Everyone should have a mentor," laughed Kearns, adding that all their mentors are volunteers. "Our volunteers are great; we couldn't do this without them."
For complete race results and more information on the Circle Program or annual Circle Triathlon, visit their Web site at circletriathlon.org and circl