More than 200 compete in Greenville’s first triathlon (Photos)


By Bruce Bentley • Last Updated 12:08 pm on Monday, June 03, 2013

The start of the Tri Greenville triathlon adult division on Saturday at Baldwin Lake. The event consisted of a one- quarter mile swim, an 11.8 mile bike ride and a 5K run.

GREENVILLE — Flawless.

That would be the word to describe Greenville’s first attempt at hosting a triathlon.

With the sun shining brightly and spectators lining the scenic Baldwin Lake beach, more than 225 triathletes took part in the first Tri Greenville triathlon on Saturday morning.

The main event featured a one-quarter mile swim, 11.8 mile bike ride and wrapped up with a 5K run.

“It’s been a phenomenal turnout, the spectators lining the wall to watch the race and with the weather we couldn’t have asked for anything better,” Greenville Recreation Department director Kris Berry said. “We exceeded our number of participants. We hoped for 200 in year one and we certainly exceeded that.”

The race, which included two youth races, started and finished at the Baldwin Lake beach.

Adult Race Photo Gallery (Click here to browse the entire gallery and purchase photos)

“We knew from the inception of the trail we would do a triathlon around Baldwin Lake,” Berry said. “Even though it was somewhat limited on space we knew we wanted to keep it around Baldwin Lake and we just measured from there.”

Space may have been limited, but that did not affect the look and feel of the race. Plenty of the participants enjoyed the setup and the course. Some even added Greenville to their personal lists of favorite courses.

Eric Abbott was the overall male Saturday at the first annual Tri Greenville triathlon.

“I was talking to a guy that has done over 400 triathlons and he said this race was on his top list,” Berry said. “We couldn’t have asked for a better endorsement.”

Eric Abbott, 24, of Grand Rapids finished with the best time overall. Abbott crossed the finish line just 57:45 after the start of the race.

“It was hard. There were a lot of hills out there, more than I was expecting,” Abbott said. “My coach tells me to play to my strengths, so I did what I could. I hoped it was enough and it was.”

Abbott finished the swim in 6:13, the bike ride in 30:12 and averaged 6:31 per mile in the 5K.

“This is my first win and I have been doing this for two years,” Abbott said. “It is pretty exciting to win. I’ve been second and third a lot. It was my first race of the season and I think I’m pretty set for the rest of the season.”

Nancy Agrillo was the top female finisher, completing the event in 1:09.22.

“It was absolutely gorgeous. Every piece of it, the swim, the bike and the run, it was all beautiful,” Agrillo said. “This is my first one of the season. I ran a marathon last week, so I’m happy I did so well.”

Agrillo (45) has competed in close to 20 triathlons during her career and said running is her strongest of the three events.

She finished the swim in 9:14, the bike ride in 36:54 and averaged 6:46 a mile for the 5K.

“I finished strong with the run, but the swim is my nemesis,” Agrillo said. “Biking, I’m a little bit untrained on this year. The water was beautiful. It was my first swim of the year.”

Another Grand Rapids participant, David Brady, was able to just swim and bike. He was unable to run due to a knee injury suffered at the Fifth Third River Bank Run this year.

Regardless, Brady loved the course.

Kids Race Photo Gallery (Click here to browse the entire gallery and purchase photos)

“It was a great course. They did a great job for the first year and it was run well,” Brady said. “The course, from a bike standpoint, it was tough. It was hilly, up and down, but overall it was marked well with plenty of volunteers.”

Complete race results can be found at www.classicrace.com.

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