On the Waterfront: Triathlon: great trends tend to get their starts at Mission Bay
by Johnny McDonald
Aug 29, 2012 | 1845 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print


Want to start something innovative and exciting that might grow into worldwide proportions?  Just try it out around Mission Bay, and no telling how big it’ll become.

The regulars believe in fun and games. Look what happened to the perennial Over The Line Tournment.  They’re playing it everywhere.    

Well, the same is true with the triathlon. It was started here in 1974 and now it’s one of the events at the Olympic Games. This year’s victors were from Britain, Sweden and Switzerland.

This year in San Diego, about 1,800 athletes will meet the challenges of swimming, biking and running again at Fiesta Island in the De Soto Mission Bay Triathlon on Sunday, Sept. 30 to determine the supreme survivors.

The swim is 600 meters from point-to-point, with multiple wave starts three to five minutes apart. 

Then it’s a fast 9.3-mile bike ride around the south perimeter of Mission Bay, circling Fiesta Island and returning to Ski Beach.

The final test is a 5K loop along the walkway near Paradise Point Resort and the model boat pond, finishing at the transition area at Ski Beach.

Jack Johnstone and Don Shanihan,  members of the San Diego Track Club, were the originators of the local triathlon in 1974. Forty-six participants entered the first event. 

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MORE INNOVATION — Well, wouldn’t you know. Now we get word of another sandy event and this one is a loony.

Organizer Rick Kozenlowski has drummed up another “Sand Pit 5K and Sand Puddle” event near Belmont Park on Saturday, Sept. 15. 

“The Sand Pit 5K and Sand Puddle are similar to a mud run, except that they are run on the beach,” he explained. “The Sand Pit has 10 obstacles and the Sand Puddle has five. These include knee-high water, limbo, in-and-outs, a seal crawl, hoopla and the tire rings. Highlights are the 10-foot-high Sand Everest and rolling into the four-foot-deep watery pit. These obstacles are 15 feet from the boardwalk wall.”

This year, organizers are promoting a pirate motif, encouraging participants to dress as their favorite pirate.

Kozenlowski said the event is fun and challenging. The entry fee is $40 for the Sand Pit portion and $35 for the Sand Puddle element. The money will benefit the Mission  Valley YMCA.

They’re rough tests, but maybe not quite ready to be standing events at the Olympics.    

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WHAT’S IN A NAME? — After several name changes, the community’s pioneers decided to name north-south streets — those parallel to Mission Boulevard — after late 19th century federal officials, in alphabetical order.   

Maybe we don’t know who they were. But, in order, they are Bayard, Cass, Dawes, Everts, Fanuel, Gresham, Haines, Ingraham, Jewell, Kendall, Lamont, Morrell, Noyes, Olney and Pendleton. No more room for the Q’s, R’s and the rest.

Mission Boulevard was formerly Allison Street, although it’s really the “A” street in the series.

The east-west streets are mostly named after precious stones. 

Pacific Beach was developed during the boom years of 1886-88 by D. C. Reed, A.G. Gassen, Charles W. Pauley, R.A. Thomas and O.S. Hubbell. It was Hubbell who cleared away the grain fields, pitched a tent, mapped out the lots, hired an auctioneer and started to work. 

To attract people, they built a racetrack and a San Diego College of Letters, neither of which exist today. A railway also connected Pacific Beach with downtown San Diego and was later extended to La Jolla.

— Johnny McDonald is a longtime writer and columnist for the San Diego Community Newspaper Group. He can be reached at Johnny23@cox.net.
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