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Local group of triathletes has banded together to start its own club

Posted: August 19, 2009 9:23 p.m.
Updated: August 20, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Valencia resident and local triathlete David Hartmire has been participating in events for the last four years as a way to better his health and stay in shape.

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Some of the most gifted athletes in the Santa Clarita Valley are pushing their bodies to the highest levels in the SCV Triathlon Club.

The recently founded club has been growing in numbers since its inception earlier this year.

“It has really been coming together for us,” said SCV Triathlon Club President David Hartmire. “We have built this thing from the ground up, and we have been working toward our goal of building a group for the local community. We knew about groups in other areas that were trying to do what we wanted to do, but we wanted to make something for the people in the Santa Clarita Valley.”

Hartmire, who lives in Valencia, has used the group to help him stay motivated in his quest for fitness.

He first got into the sport four years ago and recently helped organize the only half ironman triathlon in Los Angeles County, the Magic Mountain Man Triathlon, which will take place on October 10 at Castaic Lake.

The event will consist of a 1.3-mile swim, a 56-mile bike ride and a 13.1-mile run, which is exactly half of the full ironman event, which Hartmire has finished twice.

“Most people aren’t quite as crazy as me when it comes to this stuff,” Hartmire said. “Probably 90 percent of the people in the club don’t do events like the ironman, but that is the thing that we most want people to know about us. Everyone is welcome here. We have some people who have competed in triathlon professionally, and we have people who are just learning to swim. In no way is this club exclusive.”

Angela Guidino and Gina Spenser, who also manages the club’s newsletter, are two prime examples of dedicated athletes who have thrived in the group atmosphere the club offers.

“I’m in my 40s, and I’m looking forward to participating in triathlon well into my 70s or 80s if possible,” Spenser said. “Angela and I did the Catalina Triathlon last year. On the boat back after the race, I met a man who was 80 who had done the race. What an inspiration.”

Still, there is a little bit of insanity that drives most triathletes.

“I think most people that you talk to would agree that doing this kind of event is quite frankly insane, but yet many do it and enjoy it in a twisted sort of way,” Spenser said. “I am grateful to Angela for motivating me to go longer and challenge myself in different ways.”

Hartmire also acknowledged that the dedication it takes to participate in a triathlon requires sacrifice and understanding for those closest to the individual training for an event.

“You’re training at least 15 to 20 hours a week, so your loved ones have to understand that you are investing all that time in something that you value, but that you also value them,” Hartmire said. “It can be ridiculous, but also rewarding. I’ll never forget when my daughter completed her first triathlon. I don’t think I will ever forget the feeling that I had when I saw her. I knew she had really accomplished something.”

Hartmire trained for four months to gear up for his first ironman event last year. He completed more than 140 miles of athletic performance in both ironman events he has participated in.

“It can be a burden on yourself and those close to you because you know that one thing can blow everything up at any time,” Hartmire said. “There are a lot of factors that go into getting ready for these races, but it’s really all about passion, and having people who share that passion with you makes the sport all that much more enjoyable.”

The source of community and group support in the club keeps Hartmire driven to continue his training.

“This club just keeps getting stronger,” Hartmire said. “When someone joins, then they often introduce a few more people, and the community grows. It’s a great benefit for us all to be able to share our experiences and stories.”

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