When maintenance foreman hits road it's sometimes in a pack;
Coleman hooked on endurance events
On June 12, he settled in with 1,240 other competitors
for the start of the Boise 70.3 Ironman
Competing in triathlons is still new to Eric Copeland, New Plymouth Maintenance Foreman. He started training for his first triathlon in May 2008 as motivation to lose weight. But Copeland was hooked after his first race, and what began as a whim has become a lifestyle.
Since then, he has competed mostly in small regional endurance events like the Emmett triathlon, a few YMCA triathlons (swimming, cycling, then running) and duathlons (running, cycling, then running again). He has completed two sprint triathlons (500-yard swim, 12-mile bike and 5k run) and three Olympic triathlons (1,500-yard swim, 24-mile bike and 10K run).
Copeland also completed several running races including Barber to Boise, the Christmas run, the Basic Five, Zeitgeist half marathon and famous potato half marathon. He is a two-time finisher at Race to Robie Creek.
So on June 12, as Copeland settled in with 1,240 other competitors for the start of the Boise 70.3 Ironman, he was well prepared (he’d been training since January). The Boise event is a “half Ironman:” 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike ride & 13.1-mile run for a total of 70.3 miles – thus the title.
The event was twice as long as any race he’d ever done, but Copeland finished. Although it was a bit outside of the 6-7 hour range he was hoping for, he attained one of his goals just by crossing the finish line.
“I finished in 7:09:01, a little slower than I wanted, but I'm pleased to have completed it,” Copeland explained. “It was an epic day, and I can hardly wait for next year!”
Copeland plans to do the Spudman triathlon in July and the Emmett triathlon in August. He also expects to start training for the City of Trees marathon in October.
“I think it's really cool that an old duffer like me can line up in a race against the very best in the world. What other sport allows you to do that?” Copeland asked.
Could a full Ironman be in his future? One is held in Coeur d’Alene each year...
Photo Caption: ITD Maintenance Foreman Eric Copeland finishing last May’s Honolulu Triathlon. He was exhausted, but jumping-up-and-down happy inside. “I was pooped, but I was excited!”