Tri-athletes push bodies & help charity - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Tri-athletes push bodies & help charity

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WATERLOO (KWWL)-- More than 300 athletes took part in a grueling show of sport Sunday morning at George Wyth Park.  And the triathlon challenged more than just the body.  It also challenged participants to raise money for a good cause.

As athletes began diving into the cool waters of George Wyth Lake early Sunday morning, the triathlon was underway.  Coping with the conditions was possibly the biggest challenge for the seasoned athletes, like Elizabeth Waterstraat who complete her first triathlon since giving birth to a baby just nine weeks ago.

"It was pretty chilly in the beginning!  But about three years ago, I did a race where it was in the 30s in the morning.  So I told myself if I could do that, I could handle 40!" Waterstraat said. 

The tri-athletes hit the waters in phases.  The short version sprint racers dove out first, with the longer version Olympic athletes bringing up the rear.  After the swim, they hustled to get their bicycles and started pushing the pedals.  Paul Kulas likes biking and used that leg to get ahead.  It's a move that paid off, as he finished the sprint division in first place.

"I was stunned!  I really was.  I raced in Budapest for team USA in the world championships, and I've really just been resting the last couple weeks.  So it was a pleasant surprise when I hit the run turn around and still had a lead," Kulas said.

And that final leg, the run, is no easy fete for many competitors..especially the two youngest athletes, both 7th graders.

"I think that the run was probably the hardest part because you're so dead from the swimming and biking," said Charlie Langner.

It was quite an accomplishment for all of the athletes to complete the race, in part knowing that their training paid off.  But there was an extra motivation to finish strong because the proceeds from the event benefit Peregrine Charities of Cedar Falls.

"It's always nice to do something you enjoy and know that it's benefiting others as well," said Waterstaat.

That made crossing over the finish line even sweeter.

This was the 3rd annual Peregrine Charities triathlon.  Each year, Peregrine donates hundreds of thousands of dollars to area non-profits, recently giving $100,000 to the University of Iowa Children's Hospital in Iowa City.

Additional Note:

Just how long is a triathlon?

The sprint version: 0.5 mile swim, 15.8 mile bike ride, 5K run

Olympic version:  1500 meter swim, 40 km bike ride, 10 K run

KWWL Reporter:  Kera Mashek

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