If Brad Rollins didn’t know it, he would have thought the Possum Town Triathlon was a long-standing event with a load of history.
Rollins made sure he returned to his hometown to make some history at a new event.
Rollins, who grew up in Columbus and now lives in Nashville, Tenn., was the top overall finisher Saturday at the inaugural Possum Town Triathlon at the Lock and Dam on Wilkins-Wise Road.
Rollins, 42, finished the 600-yard swim, 17-mile bicycle ride, and 5-kilometer run in a time of one hour, 11 minutes, 24 seconds.
After the race, he marveled at just about every facet of the event.
“I am blown away,” Rollins said. “They just did a great job. I am really impressed with how they organized. A first-time race? If I would not have not known that and came down to do this, I would have thought this race would have been going on for years. It was seamless.”
Rollins wasn’t in the top three out of the water into the transition area where competitors placed their bikes. But he flew in following his bike ride and was the first out to the road race portion of the event. He said he didn’t enter the competition with a goal in mind, especially since he was competing on a new course.
In the end, it didn’t matter because he admitted he forgot to start his watch.
“In a race like this, you just go as hard as you can al of the time,” said Rollins, whose sister-in-law., Larkin Rollins, was the top overall female finisher with a time of 1:24.38. “The cycling portion was flat as a pancake. I felt like I was in Florida. It was great. They had the corners marked really well, there were volunteers on every corner doing a great job, I am really blown away how well they organized the event.”
Rollins said the running portion also was on a flat course, which was deceiving because he said you can see for so far ahead that you have to remain focused and not get too far ahead of yourself, or expend too much energy.
Rollins, who is sponsored by ACME Multisports Store, a business located right outside of Nashville, Tenn., is a veteran of all types and distances of triathlons, including off-road triathlons that feature mountain bike rides and runs on trails.
Rafe Armstrong, another veteran of all types and distances of triathlons, agreed the event was a hit.
“I thought they put on a great race,” Armstrong said. “The venue is perfect. The weather turned out nice, even though we had that little storm. It kind of cooled things off. The volunteers were great. I thought the whole race was a real success.”
Armstrong, who is from Grenada, competes in eight to 10 events a year. He said he tends to compete in half Ironman or full Ironman races, which are significantly longer that Saturday’s event, which is considered a “sprint” triathlon.
Armstrong trains in cycles and just finished a recovery week. He thought a real hard race at the end of the week would be good to help prepare him for his next phase of training. He said he will compete at the Half Ironman National Championship in Las Vegas in three weeks.
On Saturday, Armstrong said he enjoyed the 600-yard swim on the calm water. He then attacked the 17-mile bike ride and the 5-kilometer run. He was the second finisher overall with a time of one hour, 15 minutes, 33 seconds, but he was fifth due to the time trial start, which had competitors start every three to five seconds.
Adam Minichino is the former Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.