Last updated: August 17. 2014 2:53PM - 988 Views
By - jsoprano@civitasmedia.com

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Kelly Ciravolo discusses competing in the Wilkes-Barre Triathlon

LEHMAN TWP. — Rain and chilly temperatures greeted 400 plus athletes and countless spectators and volunteers Sunday morning at Harveys Lake.

But a little cold, damp weather wasn’t about to deter anyone from enjoying an annual Back Mountain tradition — the Wilkes-Barre Triathlon.

“Last year, I competed two weeks after I had my baby, so I didn’t win,” said competitor Kelly Ciravolo. “Literally, she was 16 days old. But I wanted to do it … because who doesn’t do a triathlon 16 days after having a baby. I just can’t imagine sitting this race out. It’s where I met my husband, where I met all my good friends.

“I can’t sit this one out.”

It was a good thing Ciravolo didn’t sit out this year’s race. The 35-year-old Shavertown resident was the fastest female finisher in the Olympic-distance race. She completed the 1.5K swim, 40K bike ride and 11K run in 2 hours, 28 minutes and 31 seconds.

Ciravolo finished just 8:17 behind the men’s winner, 26-year-old Stephen Brush of Dunmore. It was her fifth victory in the event.

“The course is just so much fun,” Brush said. “The only other triathlon that I have this much fun at is the Philadelphia Triathlon.”

The event also featured a shorter distance race, a swimming-and-bicycling division and a team competition.

Mary Kowalski traveled from Holidaysburg to compete as part of team with a friend from the area.

“I’ve been up here and saw the lake and thought it was cool lake,” the 47-year-old Kowalski said. “And I had a friend in Wilkes-Barre that really wanted to do it.”

Joseph Bailey of Wilkes-Barre has been at five straight triathlons, but he hasn’t swum, ran or biked in any them. He’s served as a volunteer for four years, helping competitors on race day, before becoming a member of the organizing committee for this year’s race.

“The first year I did it, my teacher at my school said they needed volunteers,” the Wyoming Seminary senior said. “I just kept doing it over and over because I really liked it.

“I liked the setup. I liked meeting all the people. Everyone is really nice.”

Would the 18-year-old ever consider competing in the grueling race himself?

“I thought about it,” he said. “But I like volunteering.”

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