Toth, Toth take first in second race of Tri Series

Kierann Toth crosses the finish line in first place for all females, completing the husband and wife sweep of the event.

CASSADAGA — When the opening salvo was fired on the second race of the Souther Tier Triathalon Club Summer Tri Series, 52 participants of all different ages dove into the water at Cassadaga Beach.

When this Series started three years ago, it had nine participants.

This Triathalon Series, which features four races every summer, all at Cassadaga Beach, has grown every year of it’s existence. Mark Wilson and his wife Tonia have been in charge of this event since it’s inception, and own the company Wilson Endurance Sports, which holds 28 competitions throughout New York State and Connecticut. Both Mark and Tonia are from Mayville, and after moving away from the area for a while, came back a few years ago, and when Mark first saw Cassadaga Beach, he knew the venue had the potential for an event.

“When I came back to town and saw the lake, I knew I had to do an event here, it’s so beautfiul. So I created a swim course, then I found a bike course that is 13 miles and all right hand turns, then the run is just beautiful,” said Mark Wilson.

The triathalon consists of a 400 yard swim, followed by a 13 mile bike ride up several hills, ending with a two mile run. The triathalon can be done all by one person, or a relay team may enter and each do one event, and there are awards brackets for each individual event.

At left, Jason Toth crosses the finish line in first place overall, completing the husband and wife sweep of the event.

For an event that started just three years ago, the turn out more than quintupling in that short of a timeframe is no small feat. The increase in turn out is something Wilson attributes to his company’s small town feel, in addition to marketing the event.

“I shook everybody’s hand getting into the water, I know them by name and by face, and that means a lot to them and me. A lot of races in the world today are not like that. Even if we get 100 athletes on a Wednesday night, I still want that same feel,” Mark Wilson said.

Both Mark and Tonia Wilson are proud of the fact that these events have a pretty competitive aspect, as well as being to open to contestants of all experience levels and ages. The age range of the competitors in this event raged from 11 years old, to people in their 60s.

The triathalon is more than just a friendly competition. Anyone who competes in more than three of the races is ranked nationally, as these events are sanctioned.

“People who are ranked can go to Worlds, or Nationals. Nationals are in Cleveland, and if they win their age group, they can go to Nationals,” Tonia Wilson said.

Above, competitors in the Souther Tier Triathalon Club Summer Tri Series get ready to start the swimming portion of the event in Cassadaga Lake.

Jason Toth, 41, was the men’s winner. Jason Toth, while originally from Indiana is currently stationed in Buffalo on a military assignment. Jason and his wife, Kierann — who had the best women’s time — are 19 year veterans of triathalons, and know the Wilsons from their time in the Hudson Valley, where the Toths would compete in Mark’s races.

Running triathalons is a year round preparation, as athletes typically compete in a handful per year. When there isn’t a triathalon on the horizon, athletes typically do duathalons or some kind of winter sport.

“You stay consistent throughout the year, I like to do Nordic skiing,” Jason Toth says.

Jason Toth had to overcome several obstacles to even complete the whole race, let alone finish it in just around 54 minutes.

“I wrecked getting on the bike, which is embarassing. I also only had a third of my gearing on the bike, so that made it a little more challenging. To top it off, my insole was hanging out of my shoe for the whole time, so it’s stuff I should have fixed a long time ago, and it came back to me today. It gave me motivation to push hard when I was moving,” Jason Toth said.

The rest of the racers trickled in and the event was over in about a hour and a half, with everyone finishing safe and sound. Awards were announced afterwards, in the midst of a large potluck lunch put together by the competitors and event staff alike. The next race will be the in the beginning of August, with a kid’s age range event coming in the middle of August.

For full results from last night’s Triathalon and information about all of their other events, check coachmarkwilson.com.