WINONA LAKE – The Warsaw Breakfast Optimists celebrated its 25th triathlon in 2018, and feel 2019 can only get better.
The annual showcase for Kosciusko County will take place Saturday, June 22, at Winona Lake Park. Started by Phil Eherenman, the triathlon was a healthy ambition that turned into one of the benchmarks of the Warsaw summer calendar. What started as a modest ploy to friends and family of the Optimists as well as a callout to the community has become a race that draws participants from all over the midwest.
Eherenman ran the race until 2005 when Ron Donkers took over after Eherenman’s health declined, and Donkers maintained the event until this past race in 2017. Looking to step away from the sizable responsibility, Donkers has passed the torch to former competitor and local fitness maven Paula Deming. Owner of Green Earth Multisport in Winona Lake, Deming saw another great turnout last year, which has seen attendance in recent years eclipse 600 athletes, including the addition of My Team Triumph and some of the top local triathletes.
The 2018 Warsaw Optimist Triathlon saw Rob Chalfant unseat Scott Erba as champion, Chalfant recording a course-record time of 58:39 while Erba was runner-up at 1:00:51, which was Erba’s personal record. On the women’s side, Shanna Bonnell repeated as champion, completing the course at 1:08:29, with Jennifer Zimmer placing second at 1:11:36.
Registration is open for the event, and is free for spectators to watch from any point on the race course, the triathlon starting with the swim from Winona Lake Park beach at 8 a.m. For more information on the 26th Warsaw Optimist Triathlon, visit the event web site.