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Competitive spirit

Wind Crest triathlon competitors log 8,512 miles

Created date

September 28th, 2015
Wind Crest residents
Wind Crest residents

Most people wouldn’t think of participating in a triathlon in their 60s, 70s, 80s, or 90s. But at Wind Crest, the Erickson Living community in Highlands Ranch, Colo., 83 residents and staff swam, ran, and biked a combined total of 8,512 miles during a month-long triathlon in June.

Participants tracked their miles, whether they were swimming laps in the glass-enclosed pool, walking or jogging throughout the neighborhood, peddling on a stationary bike in one of the community’s three fitness centers, or cycling along the neighboring High Line Trail. 

Wind Crest’s executive chef and his team planned a celebratory barbeque at the end of June. 

At the barbeque, the fitness staff honored some of the top teams and individual participants. The first place team logged 1,451 miles, second place completed 878 miles, and the third place team completed 641 miles. 

Vibrant lifestyle

“There was a lot of competitive spirit and camaraderie among the residents and staff throughout the whole month,” says Wellness Tech April Teller, who helped plan and coordinate the event.

Even in the months leading up to the triathlon, participants showed their excitement. “Our residents look forward to the triathlon. There is already an inherent excitement about it,” says Wellness Tech Kelly Wallace.

Wallace says Wind Crest is an active community, which shows in its events. “Colorado is an active state overall. A lot of our residents have been longtime Coloradans, so they come to us with an active lifestyle.”

But, she says, even those less active or who have never dreamed of completing a triathlon find ways to participate.

“Folks tend to get intimidated by the word triathlon, but every year we strive to include more folks and teach them ways to do alternative activities. It’s very inclusive and flexible, and many people continue the activity after the triathlon,” Wallace says.

Upping the ante

Blanche Barra participated for the second time this year since she moved to Wind Crest in April 2014 from North Carolina. She says she enjoys staying active and knew the triathlon would increase her amount of physical activity. 

Each morning in June, Blanche would get up and head to the nearest campus fitness center to log at least six miles on the recumbent bike. She also doubled the amount of walking she had previously been doing, got in the indoor swimming pool every day, and added other activities like golf, Zumba, and water aerobics to her schedule.

She logged 283 miles. 

Post-triathlon, Blanche says, she’s kept up the routine. “Riding the bike motivated me to get up in the morning and get it done,” she says after a water volleyball match, which she plays every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning in Wind Crest’s glass-enclosed swimming pool overlooking the Front Range. 

Before moving to Wind Crest, Blanche played golf. But she didn’t have time to do much else. Now, since Wind Crest’s maintenance-free lifestyle takes care of all her needs, she is more active than ever. 

When she’s not walking, swimming, or biking, Blanche volunteers at a local school and with Wind Crest’s health and wellness committee; plays bridge, rumicube, and other games; and enjoys the senior group at St. Andrew United Methodist Church, as well as Christian Fellowship at Wind Crest.

“I got involved in activities immediately,” Blanche says of her active lifestyle. “I meet friends every day.”