This past weekend I went to Forrest City to volunteer at the 29th Mightymite Triathlon. Having grown up there, I had seen advertising about the event before. I was oblivious to what a triathlon was until I witnessed Mightymite for myself. That was over ten years ago. I thought they were crazy then and I still feel the same way. At least now I understand, in some capacity, the level of craziness.
For those unaware, Forrest City, the “Jewel of the Delta” is in eastern Arkansas. It’s around 85 miles east of Little Rock, AR and 45 miles west of Memphis, TN. It’s a small town, but it seems as if Forrest City was made for a point-to-point sprint triathlon. Dr. Bill Higgs, Mightymite founder, couldn’t agree more. The course originally designed by Higgs remains the same except for the finish. Instead of concluding the race at the Forrest City High School Sam Smith Stadium, it now ends at the Campbell House.
The course starts at Village Creek State Park with a 1/3-mile swim in Lake Dunn. Transitioning to the bike, one travels 13 miles until reaching East Arkansas Community College, where the 3-mile run to the finish commences. Kevin Leathers of Can’t Stop Endurance outlines a very detailed course preview.
Mightymite is known to attract beginners as well as competitive triathletes. With awards for overall, Masters, age group, Clydesdale, Athena, beginners, and relay there was plenty to go around. Additionally, every beginner receives a finisher’s medal.
Triathletes representing teams from surrounding areas came to Forrest City to make it happen. All In Multisport, Thunder Racing, Star Runners, and Los Locos Triathlon Team were a few of the teams I recognized.
Overall winner Jeff Fejfar heading out on the run.
Jeff Fejfar defended the men’s title becoming the eighteenth person to finish under an hour. Marda Kaiser-Rehnelt not only defended her title, but also made history by becoming the first person to win five times. The first Arkansans to finish were Gary Taylor (6th male) and Errin Dean (6th female). Since Mightymite serves as the 2012 Arkansas State Triathlon Championship, they have the honor of being Arkansas State Champions.
Start 2 Finish Event Management put on a good event and kudos to their entire staff. This year every starter finished. It took determination and sheer will for that to happen. Everyone dealt with the heat. Others had to endure pain and one person had to finish the relay in his cycling shoes. Whether it was your first triathlon, Laura Thornbury, or twenty-second, David Wonn, congratulations are in order to all of the finishers!
Normally, I would end with having this burning desire to participate in the race the next year. It’s going to be tough to “tri” to participate without a bike. I think I’ll stick to volunteering at this one.