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Local triathlon brings out experienced athletes, motivated enthusiasts

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Women start the Bottomless Triathlon Saturday morning with their 400-meter swim in Lea Lake. The 34th annual event at Bottomless Lake State Park had 152 registrants. Army Capt. Roxanne Wegman, No. 7, of Ft. Bliss in El Paso, Texas, was the first finisher of the event and the top woman finisher with a time of 50 minutes and 9 seconds. The top man was Shawn Martin of Sandia Parks, New Mexico, who finished in 48 minutes and 15 seconds. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

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Some of the athletes participating in Saturday morning’s Bottomless Triathlon raved about a great location and good weather to exert themselves for an hour or two over land and water.

Mike Engelhardt of Los Alamos celebrates finishing the 4K run, the final event of the Bottomless Triathlon. The four-time participant placed second in the males age 45-49 category with a time of 50 minutes and nine seconds. His wife, Karen Williams, has competed 20 times in the annual event since the late 1980s. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

“It was a great way to come back to triathlons,” said Roxanne Wegman, 30, an Army captain serving with the 22nd Chemical Battalion at Ft. Bliss in El Paso, Texas.
A former West Point cadet, she was the first finisher of the 34th annual event at Bottomless Lakes State Park east of Roswell with a time of 50 minutes and nine seconds. She also was the top woman finisher. Shawn Martin, 44, of Sandia Park, was the top man, finishing in 48 minutes and 15 seconds.
Participants in the triathlon take on a 400-meter swim in Lea Lake, a 14K (or 8.7 mile) bike ride and a 4K (or 2.4 mile) run.
“I love the sport,” Wegman said. “It is my favorite form of competition.”
A first-timer at the Bottomless event, she said she appreciated its “user-friendly” nature, that its entry fees are kept low at $50 for individuals and that there aren’t the same type of pressures as at some events. She also said she appreciated the clear waters of Lea Lake and the area scenery.
Race coordinator Perry Toles said that 152 people signed up for the marathon.
“This is one of the largest fields,” he said. “We still had people who wanted to sign up after (registration) closed; but, once we are closed, we are closed.”
The day brought a wide variety of participants. Some youth as young as 12 competed, as did men and women in their 70s. Experienced athletes who train all year were tearing up the course, while people who don’t spend a lot of time exercising were also pushing themselves to compete in an event that included running and biking up and down the hills near the lake.
Mike Engelhardt of Los Alamos said he has participated in Bottomless four times. His wife, Karen Williams, has competed 20 times since the late 1980s.
“I like the social aspect of it,” he said, explaining that Toles was one of the people who encouraged him to become a triathlete. “I like to push myself, but I also like to meet people as well.”
Williams added, “Triathlon is kind of tight-knit group of people, and it is like coming back to be with your friends.”
While prizes were awarded in various categories, the triathlon also raised money for Harvest Ministries of Roswell, which provides food to those in need.
“It seems like, with all the extra entrants and with our sponsors, it will be five figures, probably around $12,000,” he said.
Sponsors, some of which provided event volunteers as well, included Sam’s Club, Target, Bank of the Southwest, Sanders Law Firm, Ritter & Co., Fulkerson Plumbing, Xcel Energy, Desert Sun Auto Group, First American Bank, Leprino Foods, LaQuinta Hotel and SCOR PC (Sportsmedicine Clinic Orthopaedics and Reconstruction). The city of Roswell also contributed money from the lodgers tax fund to help promote the event.
Race results are posted on newmexicosportsonline.com.
Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 310, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.

 

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Lisa Dunlap is a general assignment reporter for the Roswell Daily Record.