Thursday, October 28, 2021

Marco Triathletes Compete in Naples 33rd Annual Fitness Challenge Triathlon

For the athletes that participated in Sunday’s 33rd h Annual Fitness Challenge Triathlon, their experience started 12-16 weeks ago. This triple-treat event combining running, bicycling and swimming has grown in popularity all over the country according to USA Triathlon, the organization that governs triathlon races.

Charles Lamb (second from left) placed 3rd in his age group of 75-79. |Photos by Maria Lamb


To add more challenge to this year’s event, an International Distance event was added. It meant a ½ mile swim; bike distance of 18.8 miles and a 5 mile run. With temperature in the mid 80s at start time – you have to dig deep during the last mile of the run.

Eileen Poling, a junior at Lely High School, sprinting to finish after the swim.

It was a bit easier for the sprint portion of the triathlon which started with a 5K run, bike 15 miles and swim ¼ mile on the Gulf of Mexico. The cold water was a refreshing finish to all the tri-athletes.

At Sunday’s triathlon race at Naples Beach Hotel and Golf Club, not every athlete was out to win their age-group. Most of them were happy to just finish. The course was flat, fast and a great family event. Finishers’ medals were guaranteed to all finishers. At packet pick-up, race bags and a tech shirt were included, and a scrambled eggs/pancake breakfast awaited all participants at the finish line.

The Naples Beach Hotel and Golf Course has been the venue for this race for 30+ years. It has been in the news with developer, Athens Group planning to tear down the current hotel with plans to develop a smaller hotel with residential condos throughout the 120-acre property. Residents nearby have been very vocal with their concerns that a seven-story beachfront hotel is not in keeping with Naples’ “small town charm.”

If this happens, there is talk that the 34th Annual Fitness Challenge Triathlon will be held in nearby Vanderbilt Beach.

Congratulations to all Marco Island tri-finishers: Nicole Cholka, Tara Snyder, Eileen Poling, Charles Lamb, Dawn Snyder, Paul Tateo, Laura Poelstra, Thomas Lang, Alice Poelstra, Logan Meester, Karla Meester and Michael Jackman.

Christian and dad, Paul Tateo at the run starting line.

Tara, who came in 2nd in her age group, with mom, Dawn Snyder.

Nicole Cholka, who came in 2nd in her age group, with husband Bob.

Eileen Poling, who came in 1st in her age group, with mom Patty.

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