Active SWV Family Triathlon 2017 Recap

Run, Bike, Paddle to a Healthier Southern WV

The Active Southern West Virginia Family Triathlon held at Summersville Lake was a true testament to the support families across our region have when wanting to pursue healthy lifestyles. Active SWV staff and volunteers partnered with the Army Corps at Summersville Lake and their volunteers for a safe and smooth venue. Thank you to the event sponsors; UniCare, Nicholas County Health Department, Army Corps at Summersville Lake, Marathon Bikes, Adventures on the Gorge, Appalachian Timing Group, and Mountain Surf Paddle Sports. 

View race results and times here; Appalachian Timing Group

Event volunteers stayed active pointing participants in the right direction.

Racers could sign up in the Individual category or team category, but all team members had to complete all parts of the race. The event was a 1.2 mile run, 2 mile bike, and 1 mile paddle.

Run a loop around the dam, bike a loop around the dam, paddle a loop around the lake, and finish!

The start line was full of anticipation as racers prepared with a course description and a start line dance party!

Dynamic warms ups are very important before a big race.

The Active SWV Family Triathlon touched the lives of all involved and hopefully serves as motivation for others to prioritize physical activity in their daily and weekly routines.

Here are just a few of the outstanding racers from 2017:

Brei Atterson from Beckley, WV

“Today’s race was amazing! I ran, biked and kayaked!!!! It was the first time I did the bike and kayak in a race, I normally just run. We did great! My team placed second in our age division! I was afraid I would hold my teammates back, afraid I would let them down, afraid I couldn’t carry my weight of the team…… but you know what? I didn’t!

I learned a few things today but the main one was: I’m stronger than I thought I was, not just physically but mentally. Everyone on my team had strengths and we all evened each other out. I was not in tears at the end with teammates waiting for me because I couldn’t do it, I was the one at the shore with them right behind Me! We crossed the finish line together. Who was that woman in me Today? I think I like her better than the one that’s been around lately….. I needed that!”

Team WARP; Dianna, Victoria, and Brei. Photo courtesy Tara Fowler Photography


The Fell Family from Oak Hill, WV

Nathan (dad) contacted the Active SWV office weeks prior to the event with specific questions to gauge his daughters abilities, ages 6 and 8.

So how did Nathan prepare his daughters for this event?

  • I first explained to them what a triathlon was, and that it was a fun way to exercise and compete against friends and strangers…they were not fully convinced with the exercise part haha! I told them that I had done races and triathlons before, so had their uncles, their aunt, and even their grandpa! I was slowly reeling them in. Finally, I told them there would probably be yummy snacks before and after the race, and that everyone at school would think they were rock stars…that seemed to do the trick.
  • Preparation for the race was simply getting them out in the weeks leading up to the race to run and ride bikes, never with any expectations or goals, just getting their little legs and brains wrapped around the idea that they could complete it with no problem.
  • On race day there was definitely some race day butterflies, but I just told them I would be with them the whole time and no one was going to get left behind, we would all finish together.
  • The run was the question mark for the girls, I wasn’t sure how they would hold up, but by giving them small goals (top of this rise, that tree stump, the little girl in the pink, etc) they pushed through with only a few stops to catch their breath.
  • The bike started off with a hill that I knew they wouldn’t make it up, but I still asked them to try to get as far as they could. They went harder than I thought, and then we hiked it up to the top. We kept setting goals on the bike as well (around that turn, push hard for 30 seconds, there’s that girl in the pink again!), and just over halfway through Lily got determined. She geared up on her new bike (first time with gears) and took off ahead of Avery and I and was out of site, to the transition area and taking a drink of water by the time we arrived. I was so so proud of her, because she set her own goal and kicked butt at it.
  • We all jumped on our borrowed sit on top kayak and I paddled hard for them as they cheered me on to “pass that guy, pass the paddle boarder.” We ended up at the beach ahead of just a few more crafts than we started with, and we hopped out to run to the finish line.
  • Crossing the line holding hands I was so happy for my girls, and their smiles told me they were too. Getting an unexpected second place medal in their age group was icing on the cake.
  • In the week or so after the race they have been getting a stream of compliments from friends and family of how proud and amazed everyone is that they even completed the race. Their health teacher announced in from of a crowded cafeteria how proud he was of them. I must say there are soaking it all up, and I’m sure that this is just the first of many races to come. I am so proud of my little ladies, and I hope that they keep learning that being a girl kicks ass!

Avery and Lily leading the way.

View more photos here; Active SWV Facebook photo album courtesy of Tara Fowler Photography

Bolts Willis grew up in Montgomery, WV

We go from some of the youngest racers to the record oldest racer at the Active SWV Family Triathlon, Bolts Willis. Bolts was talked into competing just days before the event by his daughter. Being 67 and having survived two heart attacks, Bolts took his pace slow and steady carrying a huge smile the entire time. He was heard repeatedly at the finish line saying he was going to start training for next year. We can’t wait to see you again next year, Bolts!


Karen Walberg from Fayetteville, WV

“After the race I broke down crying at the finish line. I cried because a week before I finished a year of cancer treatment, cured. I cried because my family finished the triathlon together. I cried because we could be a family again.”

Karen finished the paddling portion of the race, the last part, but couldn’t stand due to neuropathy from cancer treatments. She passed the timing chip to her son, Jake, and told him to finish. He didn’t listen; he scooped her up for a piggy-back ride across the finish line. Victory! 


Team effort!

It takes hard work and determination to keep a family excited about getting active together. Sometimes it just takes a reminder that we should not take our health for granted.

We applaud all the racers!

Active Southern West Virginia provides free weekly programs throughout Nicholas, Fayette, Raleigh, and Summers Counties through our Community Captains program. This volunteer led program supports passionate community members to lead their friends, families, neighbors, and co-workers in weekly physical activity programs. All programs are open to the public and we encourage new people to join Community Captains at any time. You will find them welcoming, informative, non-judgmental, and fun.

The Active SWV webpage calendar lists up to date program descriptions, locations, and times. Find a program near you!

Active SWV Webpage Calendar

Hope to see you next year for the Active SWV Family Triathlon!

View more photos here; Appalachian Timing Group

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