The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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August 11, 2013

Cochran, Bailey win Charlie Williamson Memorial Triathlon

Both competitors finished 2nd in last year’s event

DANIELS — If at first you don’t succeed, try again.

That’s the old saying, and it’s never rang more true than in the case of Drew Cochran and Krystle Bailey.

Cochran and Bailey took home first place in the men and women divisions at the sixth annual Charlie Williamson Memorial Triathlon Saturday at The Resort at Glade Springs.

They each finished second in 2012.

“It’s pretty cool,” Cochran said of his victory. “I’m glad to have the opportunity to be in this. I’m blessed.”

The Lewisburg native boasted a winning time of 1 hour, 10 minutes, 55 seconds, crossing the finish line almost five full minutes before second place Jon Boggs of Charleston.

“I’m just tired,” Cochran said with a laugh. “This is my sixth time doing this event so I’m happy to walk away with the victory.”

Wet and soggy conditions made for a difficult course for the participants, especially when it came to the 12-mile bike ride that makes up the second circuit.

“It was definitely a different texture out there with the rain,” Cochran said. “It makes it a different game. Hopefully everyone stayed safe and had a good time.”

Staying safe was the name of the game for Bailey, who finished the event with a time of 1:24.04.

“I was really worried on the bike,” she said. “I’ve never rode my bike in the rain before.”

It was the portion of the race that Bailey trained the least for. She previously ran track at Glenville State and swims laps three days a week.

But a positive attitude kept the 24-year-old West Virginia Wesleyan graduate student on course for victory.

“I just tried not to think about it,” said Bailey, who was also sixth in the 5k with a time of 21:42. “The more I thought about it, the more I worried and the worse I would probably do. I just kept telling myself, ‘God has me. It’s really dry. I’m OK,’ and I did OK.”

“The main thing was to make sure on the turns you brake a little early,” Cochran added. “Other than that, just do the same thing you always do.”

Cochran hopes to take his story of winning the triathlon and use it to inspire his students.

He is a special education teacher at Ronceverte Elementary in Greenbrier County.

“They love to hear my stories,” he said with a beaming smile. “I always like to encourage them to get out on their bikes. They think it’s cool that their teacher likes to ride a bike as much as they do.”

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Just as Cochran and Bailey celebrated their victories after finishing second last year, relay team Tri-Umph Again had its fortunes reversed.

After finishing first place in 2012, the trio finished second in this year’s event.

“It’s all for the fun,” a smiling but disappointed Matt Huffman said. “We all went as hard as we could and that’s the best we could do.”

Huffman’s team finished behind Splash, Flash and Dash, who had the day’s fastest total time of 1:10.29.

“It was an awesome race,” A.C. Hilton of Beckley said. “It’s well put together with great groups of people and great support throughout the trail. You saw people, whether they’re residents or family, everywhere. It was challenging, too!”

His cyclist teammate, and local State Farm agent, Brian Griffith felt the challenge of the wet roads, but was able to overcome them.

“You had to take a little more care through the curves and let up a little bit,” Griffith said. “With road bike tires, there is so much air pressure, like 120 psi, and not a very big patch on the road, so it was real slick.”

Tri-Umph Again cyclist Jeff Peele, 24, of Crab Orchard was glad that he wasn’t caught in the downpour that soaked so many running the final leg of the race.

“I’m glad the rain held off for us on the bike portion,” he said. “It picked up for the run part, but maybe it was a benefit to them to help cool them down.”

His teammate, Krista Bright agreed.

“It helped a bit and cooled me down,” she said. “It made it seem a little easier than when I was training.”

One member of the relay team not affected by the rain was Splash, Flash and Dash swimmer Logan Griffith.

The Columbus, Ohio, native, who swims competitively for Wittenberg University, a Division III school in Springfield, Ohio, helped set the pace early with a time of 12:32.

It’s something she credits to hardwork.

“I make sure I swim laps all during the summer,” she said. “I try to stay in shape.”

But even those from the Buckeye State can’t ignore the beauty of the trip through The Resort at Glade Springs.

“It’s really pretty,” she added. “I had a lot of fun.”

— E-mail: jrollins@

register-herald.com and follow on Twitter at @JDanielRollins

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