Racers lined up to make Jackson County history at the Freeman Field Sports Complex on Sunday.
In an effort to promote the Seymour Parks and Recreation’s trails development projects and raise awareness of the available trials, members of the trails committee conducted the first-ever duathlon.
A duathlon, much like a triathlon minus the swimming portion, features a one mile run followed by an 8½-mile bike ride before finishing with another run at a 5k distance.
Nearly 20 people from across the county, and the Columbus area, participated in the race with the help of the Seymour Police Department and 15 to 20 volunteers.
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“We wanted to build some awareness for the trails project that is going to be ramping up in 2016,” trails board member Nathan Otte said. “We wanted to do something that highlighted our existing trails at Freeman Field. There hasn’t ever been a duathlon in Jackson County, so we thought we’d do something new.
“This (race) is really geared toward beginners. It’s shorter than a typical duathalon distance, and we will probably continue to promote it that way.”
The board hopes to connect the entirety of Seymour with trails expanding to the length of the city’s limits.
“The first phase will be a loop over by Cummins and Aisin on Burkart Boulevard and O’Brien Street,” Otte said. “There are additional phases that then connect Seymour north-east, west-south that will hopefully tie into the system at Freeman. We want to make Seymour more accessible by walking and biking so you don’t have to drive your car all the time.”
Trails committee vice-president Shawn Busby said future plans likely will take years to complete, but the current trails at Freeman offer a nice getaway for walkers and runners.
“This is a fantastic trail they put in last year (at Freeman),” Busby said. “It was a really neat idea that came about from the cross-country club in town. It’s fantastic people are coming out and getting in touch in nature a little bit. What were doing now is to hopefully connect the entire city.
“We had a good turnout from the trails committee and a lot of people came out to volunteer. I’m very pleased with the turnout we had from both people in the race and working it.”
Seymour’s Brian Fouts placed second-overall in the duathlon.
Fouts, a member of Seymour Multisport Club, said he often competes in triathlons and other competitive races.
“I like to compete,” the 56-year-old said. “A lot of the people here are from the bicycling group and the multisport club. Many of the people I work out and race together with thought it would be neat to get involved in the first one. It was fun. I’d never been out here to look at the trials. I used to come here to see my kids play soccer, but it was very nice.
“The trials are really nice. The part that goes through the woods gives a different flavor to it. It was fun.”
North Vernon’s Elizabeth Eaken placed first in the female division.
Eaken said she helped spray-paint the course, seeing the trails for the first time, and was surprised how high-quality they were her first time there.
“It’s a nice little 5K course,” Eaken said. “The soft surface is good on the joints. Now that I know about it, I will definitely be using it.”
“I thought (the race) was great, it was a lot of fun. The trails are a fun course. I think it was really well organized and there was beautiful weather — you couldn’t ask for more. I will definitely do it again.”
The committee plans on holding another duathlon next year.
1-Jamie Estep, 59:05.3 (Male 1st)
2-Brian Fouts 60:03.2 (Male 2nd)
3-Jeffrey Patterson 62:39.1
4-Travis Mull 67:16.8
5-Elizabeth Eaken 69:26.7 (Female 1st)
6-Missy Woods 72:45.4 (Female 2nd)
7-Sabrina Burton 75:31.2
8-Jennifer Morris 880:57.8
9-Sara Reedy 81:20.7
10-Maria Clark 83:36.9
11-Jason Alberring 83:37.7
12-Tara Johnson 83:40.6
13- Rayann Capps 83:57.0
14-Ashley Pendleton 85:21.9
15-Spencer Parrish 88:12.6
16-Brian Reedy 91:32.3
17-Donna Bishop 91:56.1
18-Tonja Couch 91:58.2
19-Julie Hirtzel 97:03.8