When Kevin and Sarah Fletcher returned to their Elkview home after the Capital City Challenge Saturday they had exciting news to share with their two daughters. Not only did Dad win the triathlon by setting a course record, but Mom flew through the finish line as the fastest woman too.
From watching the two compete against hundreds of participants, it was clear that it wasn’t the Fletcher’s first rodeo. In fact, the duo also ran, kayaked and biked away as the top male and female finishers in the Charleston triathlon in 2011.
Around 11 a.m. Saturday Kevin Fletcher had nothing but sheer determination on his face as he blazed through the finish with a time of 1:48:51. Chatting after the race, he said he had high hopes that his wife would be following close behind.
“I’m hoping my wife will pull off the women’s win. She’s won it before,” Fletcher said. “In two weeks she’s doing a full Iron Man in Chattanooga. This is just a training day for her.”
And she did. Sarah Fletcher finished with a time of 2:01:41. After the race, she said, “This is a fabulous race, and every year it just gets better.”
The race started at 9 a.m. on Kanawha Boulevard at Magic Island. Competitors ran 4.2 miles to Daniel Boone Park, where their kayaks were awaiting them at the edge of the Kanawha River to make the 4.2 mile paddle back to Magic Island. Both Sarah and Kevin said that they were able to pull ahead during the kayaking section.
After finishing with their kayaks, competitors jumped on bikes stationed at Magic Island to complete the final 16.8 miles of the race. The bike portion required racers to complete two laps down to Daniel Boone Park on Kanawha Boulevard and back to Magic Island.
The first male team to cross was “Performance Kayak” comprised of Hansel Lucas and Brodie Joiner with a time of 1:54:57. The first female team to cross was “Ambiguously Speedy” comprised of Holly Bailey, Courtney Crabtree and Makenzie Green with a time of 2:19:39.
Star USA and Triana Energy were the main sponsors for the race’s fifth year. Other sponsors included: Blackwell and Company, John’s Cyclery, Anytime Fitness, Hammer Nutrition and Suttle & Stalnaker.
Race organizers Steve Hewitt and Frank Fazzolari said they were extremely excited to add the Super-Hero Kids’ Fun Run to the race schedule. Shortly after the triathlon started, adult superheroes Batman, Batgirl, Captain America and Spider-man led the young participants to the starting location.
Running with all of their might, the young super heroes — ranging from Flash to Superman — sprinted across the bridge spanning the Elk River with the big superheroes to the finish line at Magic Island.
Kennth McGlothen, a resident of Charleston, said he knew exactly what superhero he wanted to be. “Superman,” he said. “Because he has heat vision and super speed.”
McGlothen, 6, was standing tall in his red suit and blue cape after the race. “It was awesome,” he said.
McGlothen’s older sister, Madilyne, was proud to share that she beat her younger brother. Their father, Kevin, said it was hard to contain the excitement at the breakfast table before Saturday morning’s race.
Instead of handing out T-shirts to fun run participants, which is what the triathlon athletes receive, the little superheros were each given a blue Charleston Challenge cape.
The race was a fundraiser for the Counseling Connection, a nonprofit organization based in Charleston.
The organization supports an out-patient mental health program that provides counseling and therapy in three locations across the state. It also operates the REACH Program, which is a 24-hour, 7-day-a-week program designed to assist victims of rape and sexual assault in Kanawha and Putnam counties.
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