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Old Capital Triathlon Comes to Milledgeville

At the core of Milledgeville’s inaugural Old Capital Triathlon event is Jill Robbins. Jill came up with the notion of bringing a triathlon to town after competing in Iron Girl a year ago. Although Jill says she blocked most of the experience (she refers to as misery) from her memory, she did come away with the understanding of the significant impact such an event can make on a community, along with the urge to compete again. Jill, who works in the Human Resources Department at Georgia Military College, first shared the idea with her colleague, Edward Shelor, GMC Professor of History, who has competed in 22 triathlons and 8 marathons. He jumped on board and serious planning began, as did serious training. “Jill is the poster child for the fitness aspect of this event,” said Edward. I won’t give away her age, but she is young and has two young children and she has lost 45 pounds in the process of preparing for this. That is astounding!” Back in October (after the Iron Girl event), Jill said she needed to get the weight off to even feel comfortable to run long distances. “It definitely started slowly at first. I completely changed my diet to eating just proteins and vegetables and cutting out starches. Once the weight started coming off I added minimal cardio, then medium cardio and got more intense week by week. I started only running a half mile maybe 10-15 minutes and now I can run five miles on my lunch hour!” Those lunch hours have included plenty of brainstorming too. “At first we were going to see if GMC could be the sponsor and put on the event,” Jill said. “But after really picking Edward’s brain about what it actually takes to put on a triathlon, we realized we were completely out of our league in thinking we could put on an event like this alone. So, that’s when we decided to contact Georgia Multi Sports, the events management company, to come out to Milledgeville and put it on.” Jill and Edward approached GMC president, MG Peter Boylan about the idea and he immediately offered assistance. Jill said, “As soon as we mentioned this idea to General Boylan within one week he organized a lunch meeting with all of the key players, to include the chief of police, the sheriff, the events manager, and others. The fact that he jumped into this with as much passion as we had is the only way that this would have been possible.” Edward said, “Once the idea of bringing a triathlon to Milledgeville began to grow and we realized we could do this, we started thinking about the fact that a triathlete’s average income is $126,000 a year, and that we would be inviting approximately 200 of these folks who will show up with their families. We quickly realized the impact this event would have on our local economy, which Baldwin County badly needs; we would put people in hotels, they’re going to go look at the condos (Legacy at Sinclair) where the race is being held so they may want to buy a condo, they will be biking though our downtown, so hopefully after the race they will head there again to shop and eat. This race will be a great thing for Milledgeville and Baldwin County! Further, the event is intended to be an annual event. “These things start kind of small, but if you put on a good event and if this community supports it then people will talk to each other and the triathlon community is pretty tight and we all kind of know each other so participants will write reviews of the race on websites and blogs and that will bring more people next time.” The community can help make this a successful event by welcoming the racers at the packet pick-up party on Saturday evening at the Milledgeville Country Club. There will be pulled pork, a low country boil, hamburgers, hotdogs, a live band, jump houses, a magician, face painting and boat rides. You do not have to be a member of the country club to attend. Everyone is invited. If you would like to help further, consider being a volunteer for the race. “There are so many volunteer opportunities with this race because it entails three different sports. We need people on each of the race courses to point athletes in the direction they need to go, body marking, registration and more,” said Jill. The Old Capital Triathlon will be a sprint triathlon, which means it is shorter and therefore attainable for beginners. The race, to be held on Sunday, May 29th, will begin at 7:00 AM with a 500 yard swim along the cove by Legacy on Sinclair, then the athletes will jump on their bikes for a 15 mile jaunt to downtown Milledgeville and back to the Legacy where they will put on their running shoes for a 5K (3.1 mile) run around the country club area, ending at the Milledgeville Country Club where an awards ceremony will be held at 10:30 AM. MG Boylan will be the official starter of the race and Baldwin County Commissioner Bubba Williams will present the awards. The community is invited to come out on Sunday and watch the transitions from water to bike to road and also stay for the awards ceremony at 10:30AM. To register for the Old Capital Triathlon, visit www.gamultisports.com or www.trifind.com. To volunteer, contact Jill Robbins at jrobbins@gmc.cc.ga.us. Pictured: Edward Shelor and Jill Robbins.