At 5 years old, Haley Lucas might have been the youngest finisher of the Capital City Challenge triathlon Saturday.
In tow behind her dad, Hansel Lucas, 36, the pair pedaled over the finish line of the grueling event.
While most triathlons come in swim-bike-run format, Charleston’s is run-row-ride.
For Hansel Lucas, that meant pushing a stroller 4.2 miles from Magic Island to Daniel Boone Park; paddling the whole way back down the Kanawha River; and riding 17 miles with the frame and rear wheel of Haley’s toddler-sized bicycle hitched to his seat post.
“She sang to me, the whole way,” Lucas said after finishing. “In the kayak, she sang, ‘Row, row, row your boat.’ That helped pass the time.”
He said the two of them do everything together, but this is the best year to pull off the two-at-a-time triathlon for the team.
“I usually do this solo; this year I figured I’d do it with her. Before too long, she’ll be passing me,” he said.
William Blake, 34, of Scott Depot, won Saturday for the second year in a row, finishing with a time of 1:53.
He’s a regular competitor in area triathlons, and finished a half Iron Man (a 70.3 mile triathlon) in Ohio earlier this summer.
“It’s really exciting coming down that last hill to the finish line, knowing that you’re in the lead and can take a minute to take it all in. It’s pretty exciting,” he said.
Not far behind Blake, Tom Samples, of Hurricane, finished in second for the second year in a row. Though he described himself as “the fastest paddler in West Virginia,” he said he lost out to Blake on the bike.
He said there’s no shame in losing out to an athlete like Blake, and either way, Putnam County wins.
“All the top guys are Putnam County, man. Be sure you put that in the paper, we come over here and crush ’em,” he said.
Runners ranged in age from Haley Lucas, at 5, to Sharon Vealey, 68, who finished the bike and kayak legs of the race for her team, “Smokin’ Laces.”
All told, 129 people signed up for the race, according to the event’s entry list.
Samples said whether you’re going for gold or just trying to finish, there’s always a good race out there for people looking to push themselves.
“The cool thing is when you do a race like this, there’s always someone close to your level,” Samples said. “Whether you’re racing for the top place or 50th place, there’s going to be some competition, always someone to duke it out with.”