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SUNDAY, JULY 8, 2007
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Barret Eubanks takes a dip into Flint Creek in preparation for the Wet Dog Triathlon.
Daily photo by Jonathan Palmer
Barret Eubanks takes a dip into Flint Creek in preparation for the Wet Dog Triathlon.

Triathlon goes swimmingly
Wet Dog Triathlon brings 254 competitors to swim, bike and run

By Brooke Milam
bmilam@decaturdaily.com · 340-2460

Imagine beginning your Saturday morning with a 400-meter swim in the drizzling rain, then jumping on a bike and riding 15 kilometers as fast as your feet will pedal and capping off your wake-up activities with a 5-kilometer run to get your blood pumping — all before breakfast time.

Jon Krichev did. And he again completed that endurance test faster than anyone else in the 254-person field Saturday morning in the eighth annual Wet Dog Triathlon at Point Mallard Park.

No other competitor was in sight as Krichev crossed the finish line in 45 minutes, 52 seconds, which included a swim time of 4:27, a bike time of 23:32, and a 17:55 run.

“Today was fine for a race,” Krichev said, dripping with rain. “The volunteers and the spectators have it harder than we do on a day like today. You’d like for it to be nicer weather, but the rain actually kind of cools you off on the run.”

The 30-year-old Huntsville man also won the event a year ago when his wife, Alicia, was the women’s winner. Alicia sat out the triathlon this year because she is pregnant with the couple’s third child.

“She’ll be back next year,” Krichev said.

The women’s overall winner this year was Linda Hearn, 40, of Anniston, who finished in 56:50. She didn’t place in the event the last time she entered in 2005.

“I was coming to improve my time since 2005 and I guess I’ve improved considerably,” she said. “I was pleasantly surprised.”

Participants enjoyed pizza, sports drinks and soda as they waited for the results under the pavilion at Point Mallard, and this much seemed clear by their faces and comments: They were glad they did it.

“I would encourage anybody to do it,” Hearn said. “It’s a sprint course — fast and flat. It’s a great starter course and so well supported and run.”

The event, which is sponsored by the Decatur Jaycees to benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters, is one that race director Leah Brown said draws repeat participants on a regular basis.

Brown named 46-year-old Tommy Nettleton of Columbia, Tenn., as one example. He has entered every Wet Dog Triathlon since the events inception in 1999. This year, he finished first in the men’s 45-and-over division and fifth overall.

The Wet Dog race is good enough to get now two-time defending champion Krichev to show up year after year.

Krichev, who swam collegiately at Emory University in Atlanta and is a physician at Cove Family and Sports Med, said this year was his fourth Wet Dog entry among about 60 races he has participated in during the past 11 years.

The event attracted all ages, including 65-year olds Ted Hegenbarth of Gadsden, Roger Schindler of Gallatin, Tenn., and men’s masters division winner Bobby Jackson of Decatur, who were the oldest participants Saturday.

The youngest in the field was 11-year-old Tillman Hurst of Decatur, who placed third in the 1-14 boys division.

Brown, who has been involved with each Wet Dog Triathlon either as director or as a board member, said she was honored to see so many gathered for a good cause.

“We had people come from all over the place,” said Brown, also director of Big Brother Big Sisters of Morgan County. “People telling us, ‘Thank you for doing this,’ with sweat dripping off of them, and that makes us feel like it’s a success. I can’t thank them enough for helping our organization and the counties that we serve.”

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