Unable to properly train their athletes due to COVID restrictions earlier in the year, i-tri, an organization dedicated to empowering young girls through athletic training, knew that holding its annual Hamptons Youth Triathlon wasn’t going to be in the cards this year.
But since the triathlon had grown in popularity in its 10-plus years of existence, and as an organization with “tri” in its name, i-tri felt strongly about hosting a triathlon this year, said development and events manager Jennifer Fowkes.
Thus Hamptons Young at Heart Triathlon was born, and it took place exactly where the Hamptons Youth Triathlon typically does, at Long Beach in Sag Harbor, this past Saturday morning. This year’s race was open to anyone 15 years old and up — the Hamptons Youth Triathlon is for participants aged 11-17 — but it maintained the same distances with a 300-yard swim, a 6-mile bike ride and a 1.5 mile run.
“Not only is our Hamptons Youth Triathlon the culmination of our programming (pre-COVID), it is also a community event and a big fundraiser for us,” Fowkes explained. “We also wanted to keep our name and the race itself in everyone’s minds. We had also been discussing a race open to adults for some time and this year seemed like the perfect time to do so.”
Fowkes said that the Hamptons Young at Heart Triathlon will not replace the Hamptons Youth Triathlon. In fact, she said, i-tri plans to bring the Hamptons Youth Triathlon back next year, and possibly run the Hamptons Young at Heart Triathlon side by side on the same day.
“But we need to look at the logistics of holding two races on the same morning,” she added.
Nearly 50 participants took part in Saturday’s race, competing in what was a picture-perfect morning for a triathlon with calm waters and no wind. While temperatures soared throughout the day, the race was over by the time it got really hot out.
There were separate male and female finisher groups for the race, which was the first triathlon to compete in Sag Harbor since 2019. Heather Caputo, 44, of East Hampton was the overall champion, finishing the race in 37:27.58. She was followed by Maria Harber, 51, of Eastport, who crossed the finish line in 41:40.82. Sara Dimmick, 42, of Sagaponack, finished third in 46:37.14; Kim Covell, 58, of Water Mill, an assistant editor at The Express News Group, finished fourth in 47:06.13; and Kelly Roesel, 48, of Sag Harbor rounded out the top five women, finishing in 47:29.24.
Bob Bottini, 63, of East Hampton, was the top male finisher, crossing the finish line in 39:28.58. Jack DiMaggio, 15, of Smithtown placed second among males and was the first youth triathlete to finish in 40:00.61. Michael Pitzer, 67, of East Meadow, finished third in 40:10.08; Bill Conway, 67, of East Hampton finished fourth in 41:26.87; and Alfredo Chavez, 19, of East Hampton finished fifth in 43:14.94.
Full results can be found on elitefeats.com.
“We had quite a few first-time triathletes participating, so the excitement and nervousness was real,” Fowkes said. “Even seasoned triathletes were excited to be out there racing again. The sense of community was amazing. We had racers from 15-78 out there and all were supporting each other and cheering each other on.
“One of the most incredible things about the race is that five of our i-tri alum — girls who participated years ago, even way back to the very first tri — came back and raced again,” she added.
Fowkes said that i-tri would like to thank everyone who made this year’s race possible, from Southampton Town for approving the application to Sergeant Steven Miller and the Southampton Town Police for providing TCO support as well as a lead car and sweep car for the bike portion of the race. Fowkes said sponsors of the race deserve thanks and recognition as well. Those included main sponsor Dime Community Bank, Riverhead Building Supply, Dayton Ritz-Osborn, Tarbet & Lester, Ocean Graphics and Polar USA.
“And, of course, all of our volunteers who showed up before the sun was up to help us set up and stayed until after the race was over to break everything down,” Fowkes added.