Franziska Klingberg was looking forward to participating in her first duathlon, which combined running and biking. But cold temperatures and wet conditions made the biking course at South Park in Copperas Cove dangerous, said Tzatzil Lemair, the director of the Tough Cookie Duathlon.
Since many of the participants in the all-female race drove from out of town for the event, Lemair changed it to a 5k.
“We had to make the best of it,” she said. “We still wanted to give them something since they drove all the way out here, so we still wanted to have an event for them.”
Klingberg was among more than 80 people who stayed for the 5k, and even though she didn’t get to try a duathlon, she was happy about the switch.
“I’ve done running races in this weather before, but never biking,” said Klingberg, who is from Austin. “I don’t mind the cold so much, I’m just not prepared for it. It’s just unexpected.”
When Renea Ferguson drove from Austin for the race, she was dressed in shorts and a short-sleeved T-shirt. While some runners did last-minute shopping for warmer running gear, Ferguson said she was lucky she packed extra clothing.
“I expected (the cold weather) to show up right after the race. We left and it was 60-something,” she said. “I opened the door a while ago and my husband looked down and it said 33 (degrees). I had to totally change.”
Since the race took a change of course, Ferguson said she was happy to be surrounded by women.
“You don’t have to worry about anything,” she said. “Just do the race and everybody is behind everybody.”
Despite what Lemair called the “worst possible scenario,” the women raised more than $3,000 for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society Lone Star Chapter.
“We’re doing this as a charity,” she said. “(That’s) what it’s all about.”
Lemair said the event, which is the only women’s-only duathlon in the area, requires a lot of work from many volunteers.
“The reason we do it here in Copperas Cove is because the Chamber of Commerce has always been extremely supportive,” she said. “We don’t get that kind of support (in other places). Like in Austin, you would have to pay a lot to have the police and the emergency services and everything.”