Katy Triathlon celebrates its 25th year

October 18, 2017

The Katy Triathlon will mark its 25 anniversary on Oct. 29 with hundreds of athletes, including a veteran participant - 82-year-old Jim Rosborough.

“I began jogging when I was 35 in 1970 after reading a book by Dr. Ken Cooper that running was good for your heart,” said Rosborough of Houston. He began running marathons in 1976 and then switched to triathlons in 1984.

“My first triathlon was directed by Dave Rainey,” he said. Rainey is race director for the Katy Triathlon, which he called the oldest triathlon in the Houston area.

In an email to triathlon coordinator Vicki Rao, a member of the Rotary Club of Katy, which sponsors the event, Rosborough wrote, “Tell Dave I competed in his first Cinco Ranch race 25 years ago.

Rainey, known as the “grandfather of triathlons,” said he started the triathlon in Cinco Ranch because of the large triathlete community here and because all the Houston area triathlons had died and went away.

“What attracts me to the Katy race is the race director,” said Rosborough. “Dave brought triathlon to Houston and has mentored every race director in our city. You will find him at most races in Houston being supportive and helpful. His races are well-directed and fun.”

Rosborough figures he has completed about 120 races, including at least 70 plus percent of the Katy Triathlons.

This is the 17th year for Rao to be involved with the triathlon.

“Our location was not affected by the storm,” said Rao. “I’m excited that it’s our 25th and we’re still able to put on an event like this and raise money for scholarships and for the health, education and welfare of people in the Katy community.”

The event will be from 7-11 a.m. around the Firethorne master-planned community and will feature a 500-meter lake swim, 14.8-mile bike race and three-mile run.

Last year, the rain-or-shine event drew 600 participants and Rao said she hopes the numbers stay up for this year. She noted that last year’s total marked an increase over the prior year. “I’m hopeful we’ll be able to keep pace with that.”

The city of Katy returns as a title sponsor this year, she added. Contact Callie Kuehler at calliekuehler@gmail.com for information about race sponsorships.

Last year the triathlon’s net profit of $30,000 was used by the Rotary Club primarily for its scholarship program. This past summer the club presented each of 14 Katy Independent School District high school graduates with a $2,000 scholarship.

“We also provide money for other organizations,” she said. Those groups include Katy Christian Ministries, Christ Clinic, Clothed By Faith and Keep Katy Beautiful. The club has raised more than $450,000 for community service projects since it took over the event in 1998.

Even though the triathlon occurs near Halloween, there are no theme-related decorations.

“Putting on the event is enough work,” said Rao, who noted it’s sanctioned by the USA Triathlon. “We have to stick to the rule book on things.”

Rao added, “We try to keep costs down so there’s more to help other people in the community and award more scholarships. We try to watch our costs.”

She said the event can use more volunteers. Email http://www.katytriathlon.com/contact-us to volunteer or contact Rao at vickirao@gmail.com or 281-391-3655.

Online registration is open through Oct. 24 at http://katytriathlon.com/crtregister.htm. USAT membership is required to participate. One-day memberships may be purchased online or at packet pickup from 5-8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 27, and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 28, at the Courtyard by Marriott Katy Mills, 25402 Katy Mills Parkway. Athletes may register solo or as a relay team, i.e. two- or three-person all male, all female or co-ed. Age categories range from under 10 to 70&.

In a report to Katy City Council, triathlon organizers said 31 percent of participants are from the Katy/Fulshear area, nearly 48 percent from the Houston Metropolitan area and more than 21 percent from more than 50 miles away. Last year, eight participants were from out of state and one from Canada.

Rainey figures 60 percent of the athletes are repeat participants. “They know we put on a good race and want to be part of it.”

Pluses include the spring-fed lake. “No one has a better body of water,” said Rainey.

“You look at our race and stack it up against other triathlons and it’s the only one true charity race.” The Rotary Club is dedicated to it and the local community supports it through sponsorships, he said.

Since joining the 80-84 age group, Rosborough said he finished first and second in the USA National Championships and second and fifth in the World Championships. Next year he hopes to go to Australia for the World Championships.

“I train year-round mostly at the Weekly Y and include swimming, spinning and running. Lately, I have added Body Pump classes. I have practiced meditation for 30 years and use deep breathing during the difficult running part of the race. I learned to train by joining Team in Training, sponsored by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, which raises funds for blood disease research. A family member was being treated for lymphoma and it was a cause dear to my heart, as I am a survivor of melanoma and prostate cancer.”

The 2017 Triathlon Coaching Clinic by Coach Ben Proko is free and will be from 8-10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 21, at 28100 N. Firethorne Road in Katy.

“I train because I want to race and celebrate the adventure of challenging myself,” said Rosborough. “It’s fun to win a medal from time to time, too. It is so moving when young participants ask to take their picture with me after they learn my age. ‘Keep going’, is what I tell them.”