Station residents, local Japanese take on triathlon
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan -- Station residents and Japanese athletes challenged themselves to the 28th Annual Triathlon at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, Oct. 25, 2015.
Triathlon participants braved the choppy harbor waters to swim two laps then pedal 20 kilometers to the IronWorks Gym, where they traded cycling shoes for running shoes to race 8 kilometers to the finish line.
Individuals and teams conquered the demanding course, finishing with a rowdy crowd cheering them across the finish line. Ken Ehara, a triathlon contender, said he is not into sports, but enjoys the challenge of triathlons.
“I signed up for this triathlon because I am very interested in the air station,” said Ehara. “For some time, the U.S. and Japan have misunderstood each other. Letting us come on base and interact with station residents lets our relationship grow.”
Stephanie Brown, Semper Fit athletics director, said the triathlon is about goodwill, sportsmanship and friendship.
“Many of the patrons compete every year,” said Brown. “It’s nice to see familiar faces along with new ones. It’s a great opportunity for local Japanese to experience the American atmosphere.”
Following the triathlon, winners of each age group received prizes. Renee Thomason, first place winner for her age group, said she cannot remember the exact number of triathlons she has completed over the years, but enjoyed competing alongside the host nation’s contestants.
Spirits were high as families and participants enjoyed lunch provided by Marine Corps Community Services and bounce houses for the children.
Brown said this event would not be possible without the support of station and Japanese volunteers.