Competitive athletes are getting restless here in Southeast New Mexico, especially triathletes. Even though the swimming pools finally opened for lap swimming, there are no competitive events due to the restrictive health orders.
The Milkman Triathlon, which is held annually on the first Saturday in June in Dexter, has been rescheduled for the last Saturday in July, hoping the governor will relax many of the health orders by then. The Bottomless Lakes Triathlon is keeping its same date but has modified its annual July event to meet expected health orders, which will hopefully allow a limited number of athletes to compete.
Bottomless Triathlon organizer, Perry Toles, is looking for some guidance and accommodation from New Mexico’s governor but is not finding it.
“I don’t understand why breweries, restaurants, gyms, etc. can be open at 50% capacity, but the governor won’t allow even one person to go swim at the Bottomless Lakes State Park,” Toles said.
Toles explained that they have developed a modified plan for the 37th Bottomless Triathlon that will separate the athletes into waves or pods. There will be two wave starts on July 11 and two wave starts on July 12. Athletes get to choose which wave to start in. We will use a time trial start where each athlete will start every 10-15 seconds, thus increasing social distancing at the start.
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“We are also hosting a free virtual triathlon during the month of July where athletes can swim, bike and/or run a predetermined course and report their times on the honor system,” Toles said.
Many of the earlier sporting events in New Mexico and around the country have either gone to virtual events, postponed the events to a later date or have just canceled their event. The Bottomless Triathlon, if it can be held, will be the state’s first competitive sport since the high school state basketball tournament ended in March.
The Bottomless Triathlon also serves as the annual fundraising event for Harvest Ministries of Roswell. Pastor Mark Green, the executive director of Harvest Ministries, says they have been open all through the shutdown, providing emergency food to those in need and ministering to families in the community.
“Harvest Ministries is more than an essential business, we are a critical organization for the most vulnerable in our community,” Green said.
For more information on the Milkman and Bottomless triathlons, see their Facebook pages.