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Tillman Hurst, 11, and Riley Hurst, 8, ride on a Point Mallard bike trail with their father, Vernon Hurst. Tillman and Vernon will participate in the Wet Dog Triathlon.
Daily photo by Gary Cosby Jr.
Tillman Hurst, 11, and Riley Hurst, 8, ride on a Point Mallard bike trail with their father, Vernon Hurst. Tillman and Vernon will participate in the Wet Dog Triathlon.

Swimming, biking and running
Wet Dog Triathlon allows Hurst family and nearly 300 others to do it all

By Ashley Hargrove
sports@decaturdaily.com · 340-2460

Participating in the annual Wed Dog Triathlon is something Vernon Hurst enjoys, but this year will be a bit more special to the Decatur Heritage varsity cross country coach.

His 11-year-old son, Tillman, will join him, participating in his first triathlon.

“I started getting interested in them about a year ago,” said Tillman, who will enter seventh grade at Decatur Heritage in August. “It wasn’t until the end of last fall that I started to get serious about them and started training.”

Tillman said that even though swimming and biking are involved, running is his favorite.

“Since I run cross country, running has a bit of an edge over the other two,” Tillman said. “I feel like the running is what will help make me better for when cross country season rolls around.”

Vernon and Tillman won’t be the only two from their family participating in the Wet Dog Triathlon on July 7. Vernon’s brother, Harris Hurst, and nephew, Jamey, are traveling from Demopolis to participate.

Tillman’s 8-year-old brother, Riley, joins the training even though he is not old enough to participate in the Wet Dog. Riley’s training will pay off soon enough, when he and his brother participate in a child’s triathlon in Henderson, Tenn., in August.

“I’m looking forward to it,” Riley said. “It’s something that I want to do when I get older.”

The Decatur Jaycees started the race in 1999 and eventually turned it into an annual fundraiser for Big Brothers Big Sisters. During the past seven years, the number of participants has increased from about 125 the first year to almost 300 last year.

Vernon said this event is a great way to show support for a local non-profit organization.

“It’s nice to know the money you pay helps benefit the organization,” Vernon said.

Tommy Nettleton has traveled from his home in Columbia, Tenn., to participate every year since the race started. He said that the main reason he participates is because it benefits a great cause.

“Big Brothers Big Sisters is a favorite charity of mine,” Nettleton said. “It’s nice knowing that I can help benefit an organization by doing something that I enjoy. If people know there is a need, it helps.”

With his first triathlon quickly drawing near, Tillman said he’s going to give it his best shot.

“I’m a little nervous,” Tillman said. “I don’t really have a set goal of where I want to finish, but based on my training times anywhere from 110 to 115 is a realistic goal.”

Even though Vernon isn’t planning on competing for a top spot, he said regardless of what happens, it’s going to be a special day.

“I’m just doing this as a motivator for Tillman,” Vernon said. “It’s going to be neat to have my brother and nephew there, too. We’re going to have a good time and a lot of fun.”

Wet Dog Triathlon

  • What:Competitors will swim 400 meters, bike 15 kilometers and run 5 kilometers.

  • When:July 7.

  • Where:Point Mallard Park.

  • Entry:You can get an entry form at decaturjaycees.com/Wet_Dog_Triathlon.htm. The costs for individuals is $40 before July 1 and $60 after. Families of three or more pay $30 a person before July 1 or $45 a person after. Teams are $85 before July 1 and $115 after.

  • Race director:Leah Brown at leah@bbbsmcal.org.

  • Charity:This event benefits Big Brothers Big Sisters.

    Ashley Hargrove

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