For the past few months, Millington and Munford residents, as well as members and staff of the Millington YMCA and the Joe Dugger Gym at NSA Mid-South, have seen John Hunter running, swimming and biking around the community.
He is training for the 35th annual Memphis in May Olympic Triathlon on Sunday, May 21, at Orgill Park in Millington. This will be John’s 11th triathlon competition and the second of five that he will compete in this year.
He trains 10-15 hours a week which includes regular workouts with his coach, Jim Campbell, and a group of Navy athletes (active duty and retired) that compete regularly in the sport. “They inspire me to continue and persevere,” John said.
Hunter’s interest in triathlon began in 2015 when he was inspired by some co-workers who were competing in area events. “I said to myself, ‘if they can do it, so can I!”
That year, Hunter entered and finished the Memphis in May Sprint Triathlon – his first triathlon competition ever – which he completed in 1 hour and 28 minutes. (A sprint triathlon is a short-distance triathlon ideal for competitors who are new to the sport because it requires less training. It consists of a 1/3-mile swim, a 12-mile bike ride and 3-mile run.)
Hunter, 45, is a Field Clinical Manager for Boston Scientific Rhythm Management where he works with implantable pacemakers and defibrillators. He and his wife, Christy, and their three children – Leah (19), Abby (12), and Reuben (10) – have lived in Munford since 2011. His family has supported his training by running together in several 5Ks.
“I was unable to run the Memphis in May Triathlon last year due to personal commitments, so this year I wanted to step it up and do the longer distance,” Hunter said. “Because this event was my first triathlon and is close to home, it’s special for me.” (The Olympic triathlon is a .93-mile (1.5K) swim in Casper Lake, a 24.9 mile (40K) bike ride and a 6.2-mile (10K) run.)
Since Hunter became active in the sport of triathlon two years ago, he has lost nearly 50 pounds and says he has “become a better role model for his children, co-workers, employees and friends.”
Time management is another positive result from Hunter’s rigorous training schedule. “I train really early and really late,” he said. “The details, preparation and the complex nature of triathlon require that you master three completely different sports. For someone like me, I am truly competing against myself every time I am out there – every workout and every race.”
On May 21, Hunter will be competing against his personal best record of three hours and 36 minutes. In August, he plans to compete in his first Ironman in Augusta, Ga.
Look for Hunter at the Y or running and biking on the roads and trails in our community. It’s a sure bet that Christy and his kids will be cheering him on from the natural amphitheatre of Orgill Park – with its ideal layout for spectators to watch the triathlon – at this year’s event.
Race directors expect to draw 700 local, regional and national triathletes and nearly 3,000 fitness enthusiasts from across the country to Millington for the three-day Triathlon weekend. Presented by P.R. Event Management, the 35th annual Memphis in May Sprint and Olympic Triathlons kick off on Friday, May 19, from 3 to 6 p.m. with a FREE Sports Expo open to the public to shop the newest in sports gear, bikes, clothing and footwear. Event participants can also register in person and pick up their packets. The MIM Sprint Triathlon begins at 8 a.m. on Saturday, May 20, and the Sports Expo continues from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. The MIM Olympic Triathlon begins at 7 a.m. on Sunday, May 21. Proceeds from the events will benefit park improvements including the purchase of new park benches.