Heidi Smith, MSPT, a physical therapist for Charlestown retirement community, is now training to compete in The Hy-Vee 5150 U.S. Championship Triathlon, one of the world’s premier events for professional and amateur triathletes. This triathlon, which will be held September 2 at Gray’s Lake in Des Moines, Iowa, is for athletes worldwide who meet the qualifying standards at a 5150 event.
The number 5150 refers to the total kilometers in an international distance triathlon: a 1.5 kilometer swim, a 40-kilometer bike ride and a 10-kilometer run, for a total of 51.5 kilometers. This is the distance of the Olympic triathlon and many other races held in the United States and throughout the world. Since 2011, the Hy-Vee Triathlon has been host to the 5150 U.S. Championship, sponsored by World Triathlon Corporation
Smith will compete in Athena, a division for female triathletes who weighs 160 pounds or more. She is training every day except Friday. “Monday I swim, Tuesday I bike with a group in Elkridge, Wednesday I bike with a group out in Ellicott City, Thursday I do track/speed work, Saturday I do long runs, and Sunday -- if I don’t have a competition-- I do long bike rides with friends,” she said. “And then the week starts all over again.”
Smith, who earlier this year competed in the Boulder Peak Triathlon in Colorado, will compete in the U.S. Championship to support The Scott Rigsby Foundation’s Wounded Warrior Fund, which is a 501C organization dedicated to inspire, inform and enable individuals with loss of limb or mobility to live a healthy, active lifestyle.
“The Scott Rigsby Foundation couldn’t be a better organization for me to partner with,” said Smith, an Overlea resident who grew up overseas in Germany as a ‘brat’ on Army and Air Force bases. “The military is near and dear to my heart. It couldn’t be more perfect and it also ties thematically to my work at Charlestown.”
“I do it for the challenge, “Smith said. “I started because a friend didn’t think I could do a duathalon and I wanted to prove the friend wrong. Then I wanted to challenge myself to see if I could do a triathlon, and did the shortest distance called a sprint. Then I tried a longer distance called Olympic, and then this year tried an even longer distance, the ½ Ironman (70.3 miles).
“Next year I’m really crazy and am going to go for it and do a full Ironman 140.6 mile, “ she said. “ I’m going back to Boulder and doing the inaugural Boulder Ironman.”