By Don Bolding
The Cove Herald
Sunday's race made 2010 a "year of records" for the seventh annual Tough Cookie Women's Duathlon in Copperas Cove's South Park.
According to race director Tzatzil LeMair, founder of Austin's Tough Cookie Fitness, the women-only event had twice the entries as last year, raised twice the money, had the youngest participant ever and a record time winner.
"The overall winner, Glenda Adams, set a record time of 49 minutes, 13 seconds," she said.
Copperas Cove Chamber of Commerce Vice President Betty Price said there were more than 140 participants in the all-women duathlon that encourages female empowerment and fitness.
The chamber is one of several sponsors of the annual event which gets numerous businesses and community groups such as the Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association involved, and brings tourism to Copperas Cove.
"It was very good, and we're looking forward to another year," Price said. "We're already planning, doing some after action, looking at some ways we can improve."
The race is hosted by Tough Cookie Fitness of Austin every year and consists of a 10-mile bicycle ride from South Park to Oakalla Road and back, framed by two 2-kilometer runs.
One of the stars of the show Sunday was 6-year-old Helene Farris, daughter of Steve and Sunshine Farris of San Antonio.
While most of the participants in the duathlon were adults, LeMair said a few young women received special permission to participate in the main event rather than the children's fun run that followed.
"There is no children's division," LeMair said. "We don't want people to think that any 6-year-old can do this race. It is quite a challenging bike course and is open to traffic."
Steve Farris said his daughter has always been interested in athletics, and the duathlon allowed her to join forces with her mother and aunt.
"She doesn't have any set goals right now. She sets her mind on one thing, then on another. But my wife and her sister wanted to participate, and it was a good family outing for all of us," he said.
Another youngster who stood out was 9-year-old Lauren Garriquis of Austin, who placed 21st among all contestants by completing the event in 69 minutes.
Her father, Ron Garriquis, said Lauren wom the AAU national championship in cross-country racing and used the Tough Cookie race to train for upcoming duathlons and triathlons.
"This race was to help her build up endurance," he said. "When she puts her mind to anything, she's pretty serious."
Runner-bikers came from all around Central and North Texas, with one from Oklahoma.
The duathlon has had a military division since its inception, topped this year by Lynna Speier of Harker Heights, who finished in
76 minutes. Elvia Jefferson of Fort Hood came in second with 85 minutes.
LeMair said all participants who finished the race received "finisher medals," technical race shirts and "great goody bags filled with health and beauty samples and coupons."
"We also had lots of giveaways during the post-race festivities as well as free post-race massages," LaMair said. "We try to pamper our participants as much as possible to make them feel special.
"We even had Godiva chocolates waiting for them at the refreshments table."
Price said now that the duathlon is finished, the chamber is already planning next year's event.
Next year, the chamber hopes to get more local business sponsors.
Proceeds from the duathlon are pooled with funds from other Tough Cookie activities to benefit the Lone Star Chapter of the American Multiple Sclerosis Society.
LeMair said the race raised about $5,000 toward this year's goal of $20,000.
The next major event for the chamber and Copperas Cove will be Rabbit Fest and the Jack Rabbit 5K in May.
"That garners a huge huge turnout for us," Price said. "There's some neat enhancements that they're going to have this year."
Race director Ben Davis said this year, participants in the race will receive a special treat courtesy of the Mickan family of Copperas Cove.
The family will treat runners to sausage made with the family recipe that is rolled out annually at the Trinity Lutheran Church's annual German Sausagefest.
Cove Herald editor Jackie Stone contributed to this report.
Contact Don Bolding at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7557. Follow him on Twitter at KDHbusiness.