By Leslie Moses • Photos Courtesy of Eastman Recreation
It is the 10th Anniversary of the Eastman Splash, Mash & Dash Sprint Triathlon and Kids’ Race. It is amazing to see how much this event has grown over the years and how many triathletes it has created or inspired within our community and local area. There are a variety of things that make this triathlon special. The location can’t be beat. The swim is in a beautiful clean lake that is free of non-native plants and motorboats, the bike course is challenging and the trail-run along the west side of the lake is a welcome change from other races that have you pounding pavement.
Eastman is also the perfect location for the training that takes place to prepare for the race. Doug Rosien, who has competed in the race for the past four years, says, “Being close is a huge advantage. Invariably I see people I know at the race, which is fun. The course is more challenging than most because of the hills.”
Another one of the things that is unique about our event is the family and youth involvement. On race day you might see Mom doing the sprint race, her two children doing the Kids’ Race while Dad helps everyone out in the transition area. That is exactly the scenario for the Wolfe Family. Elizabeth (mom) caught the triathlon bug two years ago.
“I first did the Eastman Tri in 2010,” she says. “I had exacerbated an old knee injury in 2009, so I had to start cross-training. I started to ride my old mountain bike around Eastman and to swim in the lake that summer (the new pool had not yet been completed). One thing led to another, and I ended up buying a road bike and signing up for the Splash, Dash, and Mash triathlon in 2010. It was the first triathlon I had ever done.
Elizabeth’s daughter, Madeline (9), will compete for the third time this season in the kids’ race. She first competed as a part of a team with her friends, and last year did the race completely by herself. Madeline likes the run leg of the race the best and, in general, loves being able to see her friends and family on the course. Tommy (6) joined in last year as a part of a team. Husband/dad John stays active in the transition area and runs with Madeline and Tommy on the course.
Elizabeth sums up the event for her family when she describes what she likes best about racing: “The feeling of accomplishment after finishing a race is fantastic; that’s my favorite part. It’s also been great to do these races with friends and family, including my brother. The Eastman race is special, though, since it is the one triathlon that I do with my kids and with John helping us all.” Another family that has gotten into the act is Seth, Allison, Elaine and Matt Carl. The logistical feat of having all four family members compete in one day may seem like a fourth leg to the triathlon, but this family is able to do it and enjoy the day. Each member of the family competes for a different reason. Dad Matt likes the race because it is close to home and he has the opportunity to compete with friends. Mom Elaine likes the challenge. Allison (9) likes to improve her time every year, and Seth (8) enjoys all the food at the end. The Carl family takes advantage of all Eastman has to offer and can be seen running, biking and swimming all summer long.
Brother and sister Alex and Brooke Weinman look forward to racing each year. Parents Beth, a runner, and Kevin, a triathlete, both have accomplishments that have inspired their children.
Alex (11) will compete for the third time this year, and Brooke (7) will do it by herself, after having competed as a team member for the first time last year. They both like competing with their friends and admit that they do no “real training.” Alex likes to run home after his mom picks him up from the bus stop (“she drops me off part way around the lake”), and Brooke uses the pool to swim laps with her friends. Since getting started with the Eastman triathlon, Alex has competed in two others: the XTerra Stoaked triathlon in Hanover and the New London triathlon. He was a part of a team in the New London triathlon, along with one of his friends, Shaun Kronenwetter.
Shaun (10) started racing in the Kids’ Tri when he was only 5 years old and will be competing in the adult race this year with his dad, John. A competitive swimmer, he is looking forward to beating some of the adults on the swim leg of the tri this year.
Shaun got his start with the Eastman tri by volunteering with his mom passing out water. He says his favorite thing about competing is “doing the triathlon with my friends and their parents all together. Everyone cheers for each other.”
John Kronenwetter explains what he likes best about the triathlon: “It encourages me by giving me a goal to work at getting in shape during the year. Also, I have started to participate in other triathlons outside Eastman. We have a group of friends in Eastman who meet to run, bike and swim together throughout the year. It’s great to have Eastman host this event and to have athletes come from all over New England and experience Eastman and its amenities.”
Another athlete who has been inspired to compete elsewhere by her participation here is Elizabeth Wolfe, who says, “I love the Eastman race because it’s so much fun to be on my home territory, where I swim, ride and run on a regular basis. I think my favorite leg is the swim, even though I’m not a fast swimmer. Eastman got me started participating in triathlons, and I honestly don’t know if I would have started doing them if I did not live here. It’s just such a natural place to be able to swim in the lake and the pool, bike and run. I have since competed in triathlons in Connecticut (the Litchfield Hills Triathlon – Olympic distance), Vermont (the Fairlee Triathlon, also Olympic) and Montreal (the Demi-Esprit, a half-Ironman distance).”
There is no doubt that the Splash, Mash & Dash is an event that is enjoyed by all ages and abilities. Thomas Gessner, a seasoned racer who competes in longer distance races throughout New England, reserves a spot in his calendar for this race each year. He likes that the event is family-oriented and that there are always a lot of his friends who participate. In comparison to his other races, it’s a low-key event but, nevertheless, very well organized. Eastman’s great trails, lake and roads are filled with triathletes, like Thomas, staying fit as they participate in a funfilled community event.
The following are some favorite training routes from the athletes highlighted in this article.
• South Cove to East Beach or East Cove Beach to West Cove Beach (Shaun and John Kronenwetter)
• South Cove to Route 10 to Croydon to Lovering Hill to Route 10 and back to South Cove (Matt Carl)
• Route 10 to Route 114 to Georges Mills, to Stoneybrook Road, back 114 to Route 10 (Matt Carl)
• My work commute to Lebanon via Springfield, Four Corners (or alternatively George Hill Road), 4A (Thomas Gessner)
• A whole variety of loops around Lake Sunapee (Thomas Gessner)
• Out and back to Newport (“It’s almost flat.” Thomas Gessner)
• West Cove to South Cove and back (Allison Carl)
• Running around the lake with my friends (Elaine Carl)
• Wellfield Road, Winding Wood Road, Eastman Access Road, Bog Road, Bear Road, Road Round the Lake, Bright Slope Way, Road Round the Lake: 8 Miles (Thomas Gessner)