The High-Tech Texan Blog

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Saturday Triumph and Tragedy

I just spent a very long day working from the very north of town to way down south.

Before I began broadcasting my weekly radio program from Seabrook at 11am, I woke up in The Woodlands early this morning to emcee the 5th annual CB&I Triathlon. This is an extremely well-organized event and the weather this morning at the 7am gun was perfect - water temp was 76 degrees and the air temperature was no more than that.

It has been my job to start the many "waves" of the race (age divisions), keep the athletes excited as they enter and leave the transition area, and provide a "play-by-play" and running commentary at the finish line. I run marathons but don't have the stamina for triathlons and have the utmost respect for the participants.

I watched as kids as young as 12 crossed the finish line and grandparents finishing the swim-bike-run event with big smiles of accomplishment. But tragedy would mar the normal euphoric feelings expected by all the finishers.

A 51 year-old man died shortly after being pulled from the water, the first leg of the race. I've participated in many races and have acted as the emcee/host for many others; this was the first time something like this has occurred in the events I have been at and it is hearbreaking.

While the 900+ participants were entering and leaving the transition area, race officials were running to the water's edge asking spectators to clear space for emergency vehicles. As I was roaming near the near water with a handheld microphone one race official ran up to me asking me to calmy alert the family of the runner. He gave me the gentleman's race number which I quickly cross-referenced to find his name on the official entry list.

Because of the always cautious conditions of a triathlon with runners, bikers and swimmers crossing paths, I wanted to make sure the race continued as normal but had to make sure spectators were not running or gathering around the stricken runner near the shore. I kept a safe distance from the lifeguards and on-site emergency personnel though I could see a crowd of about 15 people circling the athlete while someone performed CPR.

Two ambulances were quickly brought in and about 30 minutes later the gentleman was put in one of the vehicles and taken away. An employee of the Community Associations of The Woodlands went to the hospital with the man. About an hour later I found out the gentleman passed away.

Life is fragile. My prayers are with his family.



  • I was at the Tri on Saturday and was very impressed with how well you were able to keep the event running and upbeat dispite the tragedy that was occuring. Thank you very much for playing the part that you did in that day. I heard many people commenting on this at the end of the day and know how much your attitude towards the event was appreciated.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:30 PM  

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