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Three area residents to compete in triathlon
Richard Reed Jr. (from left), 38, of Martinsville; Annette Green, 46, of Martinsville; and Brad Kinkema, 42, of Collinsville will participate in the Beach 2 Battleship Triathlon this weekend in Wilmington, N.C. Above, they are shown Saturday on the Dick & Willie Passage at the Liberty Street trailhead in Martinsville. (Bulletin photo by Mike Wray)
Monday, October 15, 2012
By SAM JACKSON - Bulletin Staff Writer
“Crazy” might be a strong word to describe the devotion it takes to prepare for a triathlon. That is, unless you ask the athletes who are doing the training.
“I look at the workouts I do and I think, ‘That’s insane,’” said Martinsville Henry County YMCA Executive Director Brad Kinkema. “I don’t even like to tell people what I’ve been doing.”
His workout partner, Richard Reed Jr., knows all about it.
“You’ve got to be a little bit of insane” to do a triathlon, he said.
Reed, 38, of Martinsville; Kinkema, 42, of Collinsville; and Annette Green, 46, of Martinsville, all will line up Saturday for the Beach 2 Battleship Triathlon in Wilmington, N.C. It is a grueling event comprised of a 2.4-mile swim in Wrightsville Beach, N.C., followed by a 112-mile bicycle ride into Wilmington and a 6.5-mile run that will bring them to downtown Wilmington near the battleship U.S.S. North Carolina.
A purse up to $1,000 will be awarded to the top five finishers of the event, but for workout enthusiasts like Kinkema, the motivation to participate is more personal.
“I’ve been running for a while,” he said. “I did a couple of marathons (and) was a swimmer in college, so a buddy of mine said ‘why don’t we do triathlons?’”
It is a fairly innocuous question — until one considers the distance involved. Kinkema, who has participated in the Beach 2 Battleship event twice (2008 and 2009), said the training involves “an insane amount of working out.”
“A weekend could involve a 112-mile bike ride and a 20-mile run,” he said. “People say, ‘Why would you want to ride your bike basically to Greensboro and back?’ But if you step up (your workouts) incrementally, you’d be amazed what you can do.”
Kinkema is a graduate of the University of North Carolina-Wilmington, and his familiarity with the area helped motivate him to get into the B2B event. He said he has been training for the event six days a week for about 10 months. The triathlon offers either a half or full-distance competition. Kinkema said he took part in the half event in 2008 and the full in 2009. “It was just a great day,” he said of the experience.
For Reed, the path to triathlon has been a shorter one. He began running regularly in 2010 after joining the Martinsville Run/Walk group. As he began cross-training, he got into weightlifting and then biking.
Reed said he had kidney problems for about the past 10 years, but once he began cross training, he began to lose weight and his health improved to the point where he no longer takes most of the kidney medicine he once used.
Having taken part in spring and fall marathons in Martinsville, Reed liked the idea of a triathlon when it was posed to him by a friend. He had only one small problem.
“Until December,” Kinkema said, “Richard couldn’t swim.”
“As a matter of fact,” Reed added, “I was scared of the water.”
Originally from West Virginia, Reed explained that his family had moved around a lot when he was growing up, so he did not have a chance to learn to swim. Still, he was committed to the triathlon and determined to learn the hard way.
“At first, it’s very overwhelming,” he said. “When you’re not even used to putting your face in the water and you have to swim a distance of 2.5 miles, you have to keep your face down into the water.”
Reed, who works in Martinsville at Multi-Wall Packaging, got to know Kinkema through his workouts at the Martinsville YMCA. There, Reed took his crash course in swimming.
With Kinkema’s help, Reed began to train to the point where he felt comfortable enough to take part in an indoor triathlon in Lynchburg in March. The swimming portion of that event was in a pool, however. Then, he did another triathlon at Smith Mountain Lake during the spring.
“When I line up at the beach next Saturday, it will be a little more than 10 months and a week from my first swimming lesson,” he said.
Kinkema said Reed’s story is as inspiring as it is unique.
“If you went to an event like this, with maybe 800 people, and asked how many of them couldn’t swim in December, he’d probably be the only one to raise his hand,” he said.
Cari Zimmer of Activate Martinsville Henry County said the event and the participants can serve as a positive example to those who wish to improve their physical fitness.
“They just decided to do it around the time of the Martinsville Half Marathon,” Zimmer said. “It’s just been amazing to watch them dedicate themselves to it.”