Great Buckeye Challenge triathlon returns to Buck Creek


Doug Gladman used to play golf four times a week. He was a regular at the Springfield City Amateur.

Then four years ago, a friend dared him to run a 10K. The rest is history. Any day now, Gladman plans to sign up for a full Ironman-distance triathlon — that’s 140.6 miles of swimming, biking and running — and today, he will be one of more than 600 competitors at HFP Racing’s Great Buckeye Challenge triathlon at Buck Creek State Park.

“I miss the golfing family,” said Gladman, 41, a 1989 Kenton Ridge graduate. “It’s weird I don’t miss playing. I feel I get more out of triathlons, and I can see the results.”

Gladman has lost 56 pounds since he started running and training for triathlons. He first did the Great Buckeye Challenge three years ago.

“Just being obsessive, which I find a lot of triathletes and runners are, it kind of took over,” Gladman said. “I think I’ve played golf one time each year since. When I first started out, it was all running. I was running too much. I fractured my tibia. That got me into the biking and swimming. I didn’t want to stop exercising.”

Many triathletes share the same story.

Shawn Koivisto, 38, of Enon, completed his first triathlon in June at an HFP race at Deer Creek State Park in Mount Sterling. He did a sprint race, which included a 750-meter swim, a 20-kilometer bike course and a 5K run.

“I ran for three years, did marathons, half marathons and got injured,” Koivisto said. “Once I got injured, I was looking for other things to do to still stay active. I started to swim, bike ride, cross training stuff. When you have plantar fascitis, it doesn’t lend itself to running, but you can still swim. You can still do that stuff and feel OK. That kind of led me into multi-sport (racing).”

Koivisto often trains with his friend, Sean McAffee, a 1993 Shawnee High School graduate who has a leg up on many triathletes in that his strongest event is the swim. Most racers fear the swim more than any other event.

It’s the only part of the race where you’re likely to get kicked in the head or kick someone else in the head. Early this morning, swimmers will dash from the beach into the water at the C.J. Brown Reservoir. It’s hard to avoid contact in the traffic around the buoys.

McAfee, 39, swam at the Springfield YMCA for a year when he was 9 and then swam four years with the Dayton Raiders. That background helped when he completed his first triathlon at the Great Buckeye Challenge two years ago. He and Koivisto will be racing again on Sunday.

“I remember watching the Ironmans on TV,” McAfee said. “I said, ‘I want to do that someday.’ Then I forgot about it for 30 years.”

This is the sixth straight year HFP has run the Great Buckeye Challenge at Buck Creek.

This is the first year the race will have one loop on the bike course for racers doing the half triathlon and duathlon. They will ride one 56-mile loop instead of doing a 28-mile loop twice. The course heads east on Old Columbus Road and eventually crosses into Madison and Champaign counties.

HFP founder Shannon Kurek credited the local sheriff’s departments for making his job easier. The late deputy Suzanne Hopper was a big supporter of the race, and her work has inspired to continue supporting the event. For example, someone from the Clark County Sherrif’s Department alerted Kurek that a bridge was out on Columbus Road and offered him an alternative route for the bike course.

“It’s a great annual event for us,” Kurek said. “We’re going to have from 600 to 700. That’s really good for this event, what we consider maximum capacity.”


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Sports

Ohio State players love opening season against Big Ten opponent

Smoothies awaited the Ohio State Buckeyes when they walked off the practice field Thursday morning at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. Stacey Potter, a nutrition staff intern, made 105 strawberry/raspberry and peach mango smoothies. Defensive end Jalyn Holmes sipped one as he talked to reporters after the first practice of the season. The Buckeyes...
Marlins send Reds to fifth straight defeat
Marlins send Reds to fifth straight defeat

J.T. Realmuto has been showing more power throughout the season and it came up at the right time Friday night. Realmuto had three hits, including a tie-breaking home run to spark a four-run seventh inning and help the Miami Marlins to a 7-4 victory over the reeling Cincinnati Reds on Friday night. HAL MCCOY: Time to make way for top pick Senzel &ldquo...
Woooooo!!! Reds slammed again, but Nature Boy’s on their side and maybe there’s better news coming
Woooooo!!! Reds slammed again, but Nature Boy’s on their side and maybe there’s better news coming

The Reds found  misery anew Friday night (well, maybe it was a repeat), and the details don’t matter much but you need to read this to its end because at least uber-wrestler Ric Flair was in Marlins Park to hang out with the fellas and there’s value in that. Man, the “Nature Boy” just seems to buoy the spirits of everyone...
Scoochie Smith to play in Australia
Scoochie Smith to play in Australia

Former Dayton Flyers point guard Scoochie Smith will start his professional basketball career in Australia. The Cairns Taipans announced the signing of Smith, who played with the Boston Celtics in the NBA Summer League, on Friday night. Cairns is in the state of Queensland on the northeast coast of Australia. “As a coach, you’re always...
Siri extends hitting streak
Siri extends hitting streak

Jose Siri continues the magic. The Dragons outfielder doubled inside the third base bag in the top of the fith inning in Lansing Friday night, extending his hitting streak to 33 games. The hit came in Siri’s third at-bat of the night against the Lugnuts. He had grounded out in each of his first two trips to the plate. The 33-game streak is the...
More Stories