By Don Bolding
Killeen Daily Herald
COPPERAS COVE – 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 we had last year, raised twice the money and had the youngest participant we've ever had," she said. "The overall winner, Glenda Adams, set a record time of 49 minutes, 13 seconds."
The duathlon, with about 150 participants this year, consists of a 10-mile bicycle ride from South Park to Oakalla Road and back, framed by two 2-kilometer runs. Proceeds 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.
One of the stars of the show was 6-year-old Helene Farris, daughter of Steve and Sunshine Farris of San Antonio.
"Helene has always been interested in athletics," her father said. "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."
LeMair said, "There is no children's division. The girls participated with special permission because they were capable of doing the adult distance, but 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. However, we did offer a kids' fun run immediately following the race."
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, "Last year she won the AAU national championship in cross-country racing. She's training for the USAT duathlon national championship April 24 in Richmond, Va., and the triathlon national championship Aug. 14 in San Diego. This race was to help her build up endurance. 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.
"We have always held this event in South Park since 2004," LeMair said. "I met the president of the Copperas Cove Chamber of Commerce in Austin in 2003, and he promised that if we held our event there, they would provide support and volunteers, and they have always come through. The support we get from the community is tremendous."
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. 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."
Contact Don Bolding at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7557. Follow him on Twitter at KDHbusiness.