Trusted local news leader for Kingman, Arizona & Mohave County
Sun, Oct. 20

The spirit of Dick Tomlin lives on in Kingman Saturday

This is one we can't miss. Shut off the TV, get up off the couch and come to Downtown Kingman for Dick Tomlin's Spirit of Triathlon, the second annual.

It is this Saturday. Meet at the city pool at Grandview and Gold, behind Metcalfe Park. The 5K Walk/Run kicks off at 8:30 a.m. and the triathlon at noon. This fantastic event, supported by many businesses and the city of Kingman, was created in the name of Dick Tomlin to promote and develop a new junior triathlon program for all of Arizona.

What is a triathlon? How do you watch one? And why watch this one? This triathlon combines the sports of swimming, biking and running.

It begins with a 400-meter swim in the downtown city pool, where one athlete will start every 30 seconds. Each will begin at one end and swim several laps, exit up the stairs, run back around to the start, jump in and repeat - no waiting. You are welcome to watch from wherever you can find a spot, but you just might get wet.

Next, run to the transition area across from the pool and find your bike. Hop on it and ride up Clack Canyon Road, up Fort Beale Drive, back down to the pool - do it twice for a total of 12 miles. Back to the transition area, dump your bike (carefully), and get ready to run.

Run the designated route around downtown neighborhoods that takes you from Grandview to Spring, Neicafe Road, Lead Street, Parkview and back - twice - then around the track at the high school - 5K (3.1 miles).

As you can see, a triathlon is not for the faint-hearted, but you do not have to be young and prime either. You compete against the clock and yourself. Winning is nice, but this is really about sport and getting fit.

For those of lesser capacity, the 5K Walk/Run is just for you. And for spectators, there is plenty of action and plenty of places along the route to cheer and follow your favorite racer. I was told that the fastest participants would finish the entire route in around one hour. Others will take 2 hours or more.

More than 200 youth, women and men are entered in 15 different categories, ages 12 to over age 70. Many are from outside of Kingman, others are local athletes, and others are regular folks like you and me. In the mix are some of the very best athletes the state has to offer. These nationally ranked athletes come here to compete as well as to show their love and admiration for Dick Tomlin.

Dick Tomlin was one of our own good guys: a local businessman, coach, journalist and athlete who competed with the best worldwide. In 1997, he won his age group at the World Championship Dualthon in Guernica, Spain, and another time he placed second at the Ironman Triathlon in Hawaii. The coach in him encouraged others to do what he did himself - train to be fit and always do positive things. Everyday he recruited new athletes with his spirit for sport and competition, and this Saturday, that legacy will continue.

Dick Tomlin's life was snuffed out while doing what he loved - riding his bike. An RV hit him from behind as he trained one early morning on Route 66 near the Kingman airport entrance. The driver did not stop to help. The driver drove on. Law enforcement searched for three days, found the RV with yellow bike paint on it, then found the driver. She was prosecuted and convicted.

Dick Tomlin's Spirit of Triathlon is a positive outcome of a negative, senseless tragedy. Perhaps this annual triathlon will become a gathering force in our community where parents and grandparents show our children the outcomes of a good choice over a bad choice. Let this triathlon be an opportunity for repeated dinner table discussions and for those discussions to lead to good choices.

One very good choice would be for a family to become a family of athletes - athletes of all ages and genders who gather to train, to compete and to cheer. From what I hear about Dick Tomlin, he would like that.

We have a horrible problem in Kingman and in our country, where our youth choose the easy high of a drug such as methamphetamine over the healthy high of sport. We have too many grandparents raising too many grandchildren because there were too many bad choices made in the past. Is it possible that our outstanding community can give our children more, to show them the good choices such as Dick Tomlin's Spirit of Triathlon?

After one race, Dick Tomlin said, "There is something that draws you back to the ... race ... It's the feeling that there is always something about your race that you can improve, either physically or mechanically. I still believe my best race is yet to be raced. I will return."

This triathlon is Dick Tomlin's legacy brought to us by his family and friends. It is the legacy of a generous, humble, cerebral man who was passionate about sport and whose spirit lives on in this community and in the community of athletes. Let the games begin.

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It is not too late to enter the competitions or to volunteer. Call 753-1763 or 753-4771 to sign up, or just show up at the transition area across from the downtown swimming pool. Come before 7 a.m. Saturday. Just do it!

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