Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Military flavor offered at Boot Camp run

The Army and Army Reserve team of Sgt. Mitroka, Sgt. Kersten, Sfc. Reveles and Sgt. Whitlow received top military team during the first ever Edgerton Hospital Boot Camp run.

By Rachel Wittrock
Reporter staff

Edgerton residents Janet Fandrey and Amy Hockenberry scale a wall.
Edgerton residents not afraid of a challenge could be found at Edgerton Hospital on Saturday, Sept. 14. The traditional 5K/10K run was held at 8:30 a.m., with the 5K walk opening at 8:45.

Approximately 60 of the day’s 137 runners signed up for the challenging new race, Boot Camp, which took residents over, under and through different military-style obstacle courses.

From monkey bars to walls, scaling up and over a cargo net held in place by two Marines and walking or running while carrying a bag of sand, the race, true to its name, gave participants a taste of military boot camp.

“I think the cargo net climb was the most fun obstacle for people because it is something the average person does not run into in their life,” Eric Stockman of Milton Family Recreation said. “I think after getting over it, they had a deep sense of accomplishment.”

Current military personnel mann-ed the different obstacles. Did you fall on the monkey bars? Go back and try again. Fall off the balance beam or use your hands for balance? Drop and do 10 push-ups. While the roughly 60 Boot Campers had the option to skip any obstacle, most chose to face the course.

Brody Butterfield decked out in Army camo
“The Marines said it was a great event for them to get out of the office and get a chance to support the local community,” Stockman said. “It [Boot Camp] is pretty much doing what they do in real life. They train that way.”

With categories for military, law enforcement and civilians, the 5K obstacle course run drew everyone from local military recruiters to individuals wanting more than the traditional run.

Dressed in camouflage shorts and a black Army T-shirt, the four-person United States Army and Army Reserves team of Sgt. Mitroka, Sgt. Kersten, Sfc. Reveles and Sgt. Whitlow captured the top team time spot.

The team Jeff and 5 College Kids captured first place in the citizen team competition.

Edgerton resident Janet Fandrey signed up for Boot Camp as part of a personal goal to do one race every month from April to October. The race was also an anniversary of sorts, marking one year since Fandrey embarked on her weight-loss journey. With her friend Amy Hocken-berry by her side, both in training and Boot Camp, Fandrey lost 30 lbs. and tackled the challenging course.
Janet Fandrey and Amy Hockenberry weren't afraid of a bit of mud.

And neither was I!
Although Boot Camp waves were scheduled to run from 9 a.m. to noon, no one was game to tackle the course in the afternoon. The final heat - a field of five females, including Fandrey and Hockenberry - took off at 10:30 a.m.

After two loops of the military course, racers had to wade or crawl through the water below the monkey bars, then crawl under a net through mud before getting their just rewards - pears, oranges and water - at the finish line.

“Everybody always thinks the event will not be for them because they have it in their mind what these runs entail,” Stockman said. “But in reality, it is fun for everybody. Everybody that walked away had fun. I saw a lot of extreme laugher when people crossed the finish line.”

Wondering what you missed? Check out this video clip from the race: 
Hope to see you there next year!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Iron will: Wellenkotter top at 2013 Ironman

By Rachel Wittrock
Reporter staff

With a smile on his face, a man dressed in a blue and white triathlete uniform strode across the finish line, his hands raised in a sign of victory.

“Jedd, you are an Ironman!” the announcer proclaimed in a booming voice.

A man and a woman, dressed in light blue T-shirts marking them as race volunteers, rushed up to wrap the exhausted competitor in a thermal blanket and guide him to water and a chair.

The athlete was none other than Edgerton’s own Jedd Wellenkotter, who began Sunday’s race with dreams of making it to the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii.

But what does it take to be an Ironman competitor? The 140.6-mile race is not for the faint of heart or the weekend warrior. The grueling race challenges competitors to complete a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and cap it all off with a marathon.

Yet every year, thousands sign up for the ultra-triathlon, which is held in different cities around the world.

In preparation for his return to the Madison Ironman - Wellenkotter competed but did not finish due to health reasons in 2009 - the Edgerton resident put in 15-25 hours a week for months. He trained two to four hours during the week, and put in four to five hour workouts on the weekend.

“It is a lifestyle,” Wellenkotter said, explaining his drive to compete in long-distance triathlons. “I am never bored, my weekends are always full and I always have something to do.”

The race began at 7 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 8 with approximately 2,800 competitors, both male and female, plunging into Lake Monona to begin the 2.4-mile swim. When Wellenkotter emerged from the lake an hour and three minutes later, he was ranked 128th overall and 14th in his male 30-34 age division.

The 30-year-old paced past the competition during the bike ride, picking up 87 spots throughout the 112-mile course. By the time he arrived at Monona Terrace and prepared to trade cycling shoes for running shoes, he had shot up to 41st overall and fifth in his age division.

The third and final part of the race was a marathon around Madison - including two loops up the challenging incline that is Observatory Drive.

Despite experiencing severe stomach cramps, Wellenkotter maintained a strong mile pace, running an average mile time of 7:52 for the first half of the race. As the Edgerton resident hit mile 16, trouble set in. His stomach cramps disappeared, only to reappear in his legs, glutes and hamstrings.

“It was pretty bad cramps that wouldn’t allow me to run more than a half mile, then I would cramp up and I would have to work my cramps out. Then I’d be able to jog a little more. It really slowed me up for eight miles,” Wellenkotter said.

Meanwhile, Tinley Park, Ill. resident Mark Higgins - who Wellenkotter passed during the early part of the bike race, began challenging Wellenkotter. Although the Edgerton resident had an eight minute lead on Higgins entering the marathon, by the time Wellenkotter crossed the 16.8 mile marker, Higgins was just 13 seconds behind.

When Wellenkotter passed the next checkpoint at mile 19, Higgins had passed him and had more than a minute’s lead.

Higgins went on to finish the Ironman in 10 hours, 5 seconds and garnered the last male 30-35 age division qualifying spot, with Wellenkotter finishing shortly after, in 10 hours, 11 minutes and 58 seconds.

“There is a lot of times during the race where you are not feeling good, and you can never really completely bag your race and get down on yourself because it really affects Ironman and your performance,” Wellenkotter said. “You just have to deal with the bad and embrace the good.”

When he was struggling, Wellenkotter found encouragement in the thousands of people who showed up to volunteer for the Madison Iron

“It is the best race I have ever done as far as crowd support and volunteers go,” Wellenkotter said.
“It really kind of shows how Madison is when it comes to events like that, people coming together, and I think it is kind of a Wisconsin thing too,” Wellenkotter added. “Of any place I’ve ever raced, Madison volunteers and fans are just top-notch.”

Despite his struggles, Wellenkotter placed 52nd overall and 11th in his age division, placing him within the top 2 percent of the day’s competitors.

While his dreams of competing with the best at the Ironman World Championships may have been delayed, Wellenkotter is not ready to give up. He has already signed up for the 2014 Madison Ironman race, and is considering signing up for Ironman races in other states this spring, with the hope of qualifying for the 2014 World Championships.

So what does it take to be an Ironman?
“You have to be motivated. It definitely takes a level of self-motivation. You have to train, you have to really put in the work to get there,” Wellenkotter said. “It just takes being open to new things too.

“Try running, try swimming, try biking, and if you enjoy even one of those things, start doing it,” the Edgerton Ironman added. “As you become more involved in the endurance-type community, it seems like all roads always lead to a triathlon, no matter what endurance sport you are in.”

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Catching up...

Well, I have been working at my new job long enough to get my first paycheck, and boy am I happy! (;

I must admit, Edgerton is a much smaller town than Sun Prairie, population around 5,500, but you would never know it with all the events going on. Chilimania, Thresheree, the Sterling North Book and Film Festival, Edgerton Hospital Boot Camp Run, a historic Tour of Homes...

My first day on Monday, Aug. 26 went well. I joked that my first day in Sun Prairie I met the mayor and was at St. Mary's when they saw their 10,000 patient. My first day in Edgerton I covered two Stoughton teens who broke the world record for the longest ping-pony rally - one serve lasted 8.5 hours! Imagine being in Guiness before you have graduated high school!

This past weekend I covered Chilimania in Edgerton on Saturday and then headed back to my old stomping grounds to cover Ironman in Madison. Edgerton residents Jedd Wellenkotter and Alan Severson participated in the 140.6 mile race. Wellenkotter was 52nd overall out of a field of 2,800, while Severson was 309th.

I'm going to give my blog a little facelift in the upcoming weeks. In Sun Prairie I would post links to my stories on the website. The Reporter has a PDF viewer on its website, so you have to subscribe to read the stories. I have nothing against that, but I will probably post one or two of my stories to my blog every week so those of you that follow me can read some of my work.

My first story will be the one on Edgerton Ironman Jedd Wellenkotter. Watch for that to pop up tomorrow morning!

What is on post for this weekend? Why none other than the Edgerton Hospital Boot Camp! I intend to tackle the 3-mile course, which includes military obstacles, dressed in my desert camouflage pants, a green T-shirt, hiking boots...and Army face paint.

Until next time!