Tough Race for Amerika Samoa’s Top Triathlete

By Seti Afoa ,

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Tamatoa winner: Solomona Hamilton, 9yrs, is supported by his dad Clyde in the run.

Tamatoa winner: Solomona Hamilton, 9yrs, is supported by his dad Clyde in the run.

It was tough! It was bloody tough! That was the verdict, without question, of the first race of the Triathlon Series, which kicked off at Mulinu’u yesterday. 

Now in its fourth year, the event and the series is becoming recognised as a mainstay of activity around the Pacific islands. 

There was the first American Samoa competitor to race in the Triathlon Series. Patrick McEntire brought his entire family over for the weekend to see him race in the Olympic Distance – 1.5km swim, 40km bike and 10km run. 

At the finish, he was categorically spent. The heat, the race, the trials of the course all took their toll. But he finished and that is all that mattered to the Pago Pago resident. 

“That was tough, but I am glad I have done it now. Boy that was tough,” he said between gasps after he crossed the finish line. 

McEntire was very lucky to finish. He sustained an unrepairable puncture in his back tyre, which would have put him out of the race. He was allowed to borrow another competitor’s bike to finish the event. 

“I really wanted to cross that finish line. When the bike was busted I thought my race was over.” 

“Not good to go back to Pago with unfinished business,” he added. 

“We will be back, and definitely for the Warrior Race in July. That is my next challenge is to cross the finish line of the Warrior Race. Though that race will be twice as long as today’s gut buster. I have a lot of work to do.” 

McEntire is a brave man, with a great story. His journey to fitness began a year ago. Then, he was 46yrs old and overweight. At 130kgs (270lbs) he was a wobbling mess when he got out of bed every morning.  

He set himself a challenge to be fit and healthy. A year later he is 90kgs and slimming. He has a new lease on life. 

The Pago Pago local came with his wife Finau and three children, who all sat through the entire race, cheering him on right to the finish. 

Added Mrs McEntire, “Next time, we will leave the kids at home. I want to race too.” 

Whilst McEntire was basking in his great achievement and second place in the premier race, it was Leusoali’i local Samasoni Nimarota who took out the win in Race 1 of the Series. 

He was unchallenged in that regard. He led from the start of the race to the finish. 

The teams event in the Championship distance was won by the trio of Sara Todd (swimmer), Daniel Afoa (40km cycle) and 18yr old Misiuaita Fa’amoetauloa from Vailima. 

In the Sprint distance, the 524 TRI, promising triathlete and all-rounder Durant Webster, 12yrs, claimed the highest podium of that event. 

Webster easily sprinted to the start of the 500m swim, and he stayed there through the 20km cycle and 4km run. 

The children’s races were won by Solomona Hamilton, 9yrs, and Urlin Mulitalo, 10yrs, for the girls. 

The next race of the series is March 19. 

 

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