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Racers swim, bike, run in rain, wind, cold

Published Sep. 4, 2005

They call themselves Wise Outrageous Women.

Longtime girlfriends, mostly middle-age and mostly from outside Jacksonville, the women of W.O.W. wear matching T-shirts and visors. And they like to drink beer.

On Sunday, all eight finished the AARP Tri-Umph Triathlon, a first for each.

When it was over, they celebrated at the finish line with yogurt and Bloody Marys. A few miles away, massage therapists waited in their hotel rooms.

"We did it," shouted Sherry Mahoney, 50, of Ponte Vedra. "We did it!"

Targeted to athletes older than 50, the race drew roughly 175 competitors, only half the number registered. Organizers said rain and winds early Sunday kept many away from the second annual 400-meter swim, 20k bike ride and 5k run.

By the 8 a.m. start time, spectators lined the bleachers at North Shore Pool, where some huddled with blankets.

For Bob Scott, 58, weather wasn't a factor. He traveled from his home in Glasgow, Scotland, and didn't mind the cold.

"It felt good," he said. "I'm already looking forward to next year's."

Bill Schweizer, 80, of Owego, N.Y., was barely winded when he crossed the finish line. He's planning a return trip to Florida in the spring for another triathlon.

"I like these AARP races," he said. "They're short."

Patricia Hoffman, 52, of Palm Harbor, placed first for women for the second year in a row. She finished in 1 hour, 13 minutes, 22 seconds. Elizabeth O'Tool, 51, of Boca Raton, placed second at 1 hour, 16 minutes, 6 seconds and Suzette Trainor, 50, of Nokomis, came in third at 1 hour, 17 minutes, 34 seconds.

On the men's side, Barry Clark, 54, of LaCrosse, Wis., won the top title for the second year in a row, finishing in 1 hour, 49 seconds. In second, Don Utsinger, 55, of Vinton, Iowa, at 1 hour, 3 minutes, 32 seconds. Jack Pyhel, 58, of Tierra Verde, came in third at 1 hour, 5 minutes, 44 seconds.

Karen Sloan, 52, of Clearwater, crossed the finish line last. Next time, she hopes to go faster.

"I had a bike with big chopper handlebars," she said, laughing. "Next time, I'll do it with the right kind of bike."