Athletes take on the Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland Sprint Triathlon on Father's Day

WINFIELD — In the hours leading up to Sunday's Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland Sprint Triathlon, race directors were watching weather reports with a keen eye.

Remnants of Tropical Storm Bill passed through Central Maryland Saturday night and into Sunday morning, leaving the ground saturated, and the roads slick. Still, by the 7 a.m. start time for the annual Father's Day event, skies were blue and the sun was shining.


And, for many of the athletes in the race, as well as those working or volunteering, those efforts went into keeping the spirit of the holiday.

"I loved to go out and deliver Meals on Wheels with my grandfather," said co-race director Adam Himmelwright. "Kind of fitting, he passed away last year. Father's Day today. It's kind of a neat thing."


Laurel native Richard Reinhardt was the top overall finisher for the three-event race held at the South Carroll Swim Club for the last 15 years. He took down the course in one hour, 5 minutes and 34.8 seconds. Matt Leimkuhler of Eldersburg, was the top Carroll finisher (1:09.14.6).

The race consisted of a 400-meter swim in one of two outdoor pools, followed by a 16-mile bike ride and a 5k run. The course stretched down Rt. 26, allowing racers to take in the scenic rolling hills of southern Carroll County while they participated in the event.

This was the second year that Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland sponsored the event. Last year, the race managed to fund nearly 3,300 meals for seniors in the area.

Though participation was slightly down this year, the organization's deputy executive director for development, marketing and communications, Holly Blackledge, said spreading awareness for what the organization can provide to residents in Carroll County is why they felt the need to stay involved with the event.

"It's our second year, so now we have this opportunity to really expand getting our word out to people, especially in Carroll County, about what the meals are," she said. "Because, the more we can get the word out about the program – the fact that we do come to these edges of so many places in Maryland ... is the possibility that we can actually reach those clients who need our help."

Along with members of the SCSC, those from Freedom Church across the street also came out in support. Himmelwright — who works for Racine Multisports, which put on the race — guessed there were as many as 150 volunteers at the event.

Aside from individual athletes, the race welcomed relay teams, as well as father-son and father-daughter duos.

One of those groups was Julia Falk and her father, Thomas.

"My dad got me into tris, so it feels good to compete, do all of them, hopefully win," said Falk, who finished as the overall top female finisher in 1:20:08.3. "It feels good to get another trophy for him for all the inspiration he's given me."

Pat Brannan, of Lutherville, didn't finish among the top athletes in the triathlon. But, considering Sunday's race was only the second time he'd competed in an event like it, he was more concerned with finding his three children and bringing them across the finish line with him for a special moment with dad.

"It's great to see my kids give me energy as I cross the finish line," said Brannan, who competed in the event last year – the only two triathlons on his resume. "It's neat to run across and have them see me train, and put hard work into it, and love on them after."

The same was true for Pittsburgh native Jonathan Mek, whose brothers and sisters all participated in the event with him.


A new father, when Mek approached the finish line, those rooting him on from the sidelines handed off his 9-month-old son, Lucca, so the two could cross the finish line together.

"My brother always runs across with his son, three years in a row," Mek said. "So this is the first year I got to do it with my son."

Himmelwright's co-race director, Matt Bunting, said the event has a special feel to it. Citing the father-son and father-daughter duos especially.

"I think it's really neat," he said. "As a father myself, I'd really like to do this race.

"Hopefully next year."



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