IRONMAN Comes to Suffield

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Photo by Janine Hermann
Former Suffield resident Laura Hermann of Team Betty waves to supporters at the intersection of North Street and Longview Drive. She finished the race in 5:02:30.

Did you see all of the elite athletes cycling through town last month? If you like to enjoy lazy Sunday mornings at home, you probably missed it.

On Sunday, June 9, the IRONMAN 70.3 Western Massachusetts, which was held for the first-time last year, included Suffield on its route for the first time. Athletes from all over the world gathered before dawn in downtown Springfield to swim 1.2 miles down the Connecticut River; bike 56 miles through Springfield, Agawam, Suffield, Southwick, Westfield, and West Springfield; and run 13.1 miles through Forest Park to the finish line in front of Symphony Hall.

The Suffield portion of the course had cyclists travel south on North Street from Agawam, turn right on Mountain Road, continue on Warnertown Road, and keep left on South Longyard Road towards Southwick. The bike course was changed this year in an effort to cut down on the number of turns and include roads with better quality pavement.

The first participants started around 6:20 a.m. Cyclists were on the road in Suffield between 6:45 and 9:45 a.m. The temperature was in the 50s and 60s and there was a steady rain between approximately 7:10 a.m. and 12:10 p.m.

Out of the 1,218 athletes who completed the race, at least 11 were from Suffield: Daniel Casinghino, Kyle Johnson, Ben Kawalec, Daniel McCoy, Charlie Murrin, Timothy Nealon, Kaitlyn Nigro, Russell Petrucci, Kate Scirocco, Raymond Sussmann, and Lisa Wojcik. The top athletes in each age group earn the opportunity to compete in the 2024 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in Taupō, New Zealand.

An IRONMAN 70.3 is commonly referred to as a half Ironman. A full-length IRONMAN Triathlon is 140.6 miles and consists of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike, and a 26.2 mile run. The first IRONMAN was held in Oahu, Hawaii, in 1978. According to Wikipedia, “it is widely considered [to be] one of the most difficult one-day sporting events in the world.”

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