CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
More than 3,000 athletes from around the world ran, swam and cycled their way through base and the city Oceanside during the 2015 Ironman 70.3 California Triathlon, March 28.
The triathlon is a test of endurance that requires competitors to swim 1.2 miles of the coast of Oceanside, 56 miles of biking through Camp Pendleton and a 13.1 mile run back to Oceanside, where winners received a $60,000 cash prize and qualifying points.
“This is a huge race because it kicks off our North American season,” said Keats Mcgonigal, operations manager for the event. “Our athletes love it. It’s one of our more popular races in North America and it’s a great way for us to showcase Camp Pendleton, the city of Oceanside and everything else California has to offer.”
Jan Frodeno from Germany took first place for the men’s division, coming in at three hours, 47 minutes and eight seconds, while Heather Jackson of the United States came in first for the women’s division at four hours, 14 minutes and 47 seconds.
“For us, the support from Camp Pendleton is huge and we couldn’t have done this event without them,” said Mcgonigal. “Not only from a logistical perspective in terms of access to the bike course, we also get 1500 volunteers from base. They really make the athletes feel that the race is special and it gets them to the finish line.
Marine, sailor and former service member volunteers guided the athletes throughout Oceanside and Camp Pendleton, and provided safety, security and aid services to the athletes.
“There’s a good feeling of being able to help out,” said Branden Koonce, a volunteer from the base who has also participated in the triathlon before. “It’s good to give something back to a community that supports the military.”
Competitors like Bryan Nordstrom, a Marine veteran, said the challenge is about more than the cash prizes and points.
“This is my first triathlon and it’s a long awaited dream of mine,” said Nordstrom, a Marine who lost one of his legs during the Gulf War. “It took a lot of work to get here. The best part about it is that my brother Marines are here to carry me out of the water and help me during the transitions. It feels good to be home.”