By Jonathan Guignard
Athletes from around the community and beyond, brought their “A” game last weekend as they competed hard in three different sports.
The 7th annual triathlon took place in Raymond last Saturday morning and began with swimming followed by cycling before finishing up with running.
One competitor everybody was paying close attention to was Hunter Graves.
Graves was born with Spina Bifida, which is incomplete closing of the backbone and membranes around the spinal cord, limiting his mobility.
It was his first time competing in this event and had to get used to some customized equipment.
“It was a new experience. We only got the bike and the chair over a week ago and I hadn’t had a lot of time to get used to it,” said Graves. “The wheelchair was the hardest, it’s like nothing I have ever tried before.”
However, the race was something that was important to him and he embraced the experience.
“It was an interesting change of pace. I feel like I could have used crutches and ran the two and a half kilometres, but I enjoyed it,” said Graves.
His parents were very encouraging and did whatever it took to help him out.
“My family was willing and supportive about getting the equipment for me and set it all up,” said Graves.
His family weren’t the only ones who showed their support. The whole community was behind him.
“I had tons of support from the community. When people heard I was doing this, everybody was excited for me and wished me the best. It’s been a good experience,” said Graves.
Loni Snow, co-chair of the event, was happy to hear that he would be competing and really appreciates his courage.
“He will try anything. He’s not scared to try new things. He’s done wheelchair basketball and all that stuff. He just got his new equipment and hasn’t trained too much with it, but there’s no time like now,” said Snow.
Graves has no intention on slowing down either.
“Hopefully with a little more practice, I can come back again next year with a bit more experience. This was a great way to start things off,” said Graves.
Snow was extremely happy with how things turned out and enjoys seeing the event grow each year. Especially with the younger children in the community.
“We just wanted to do it mainly to get people active, that was our biggest goal. This year we have 50 kids up from about 20 last year. It’s a great goal for kids to have and it continues to get better every year,” said Snow.
There were four categories for athletes to compete in, including, Olympic (1500m,40K,10K), Sprint (750m, 20K, 5K), Super Sprint ( 250m, 10K, 2.5K ) and Kids (100m, 2.5K, 1K).
Mike Orsini, Ryan Mohr, Bert Friesen, Jake Odorski had the best times of the day, respectively.