Wightman represented the United States in the Switzerland duathlon
By Andrew Harris
Endurance and optimum physical fitness are something that most of us are in envy of, especially those in their seventies. Ron Wightman, also the Town of Willing Supervisor, has always been known for keeping in shape and hanging with other powermen like Rich Shear and Steve Chaffee. Earlier this month in Switzerland, Ron took his training to a new level.
Ron describes the event and its challenges:
“The race was the Powerman Zofingen. It is the Long Course Duathlon World Championship. I was participating as a member of USA Triathlon Team USA. The race was held in Zofingen Switzerland. Athletes from a number of nations participated.
A duathlon is a division of triathlon with a run replacing the swim, so a run, bike, run. The distances were a 10K (6.2 mi) run then a 150K (90 mi) bike ride followed by a 30K (18.6mi) run. There were significant climbs in each segment; run 1 had 800 ft, the bike had 5900 ft and run 2 had 2900 ft.
Run 1 was 2 loops and the bike and run 2 were each 3 loops. Each lap of the runs went through in front of the grandstand in the stadium. Also the transition between each segment was in the stadium. My overall time was 10 hours and 12 minutes, good for 2nd place, silver medal, in the 70 to 74 age group.”
Wightman explained that the road to Zofingen required him to qualify in September 2021 National Championship for the Long Course Duathlon.
The event itself sounds grueling for any age. Wightman gives some insight into what the event involved and how he was able to win the silver medal:
“The challenge for any long endurance event is maintaining hydration, electrolytes and energy level. The 2nd run was quite warm and caused me some issues with this.
The other challenge were the climbs especially on the bike. Those climbs were long with switchbacks and hairpin turns on the decent. I climbed a lot of hills in my training to prepare but the Swiss climbs were still a challenge. I did a lot of bike then run and run bike run training. Also some days with long runs and some long bike rides.”
With the Zofingen silver around his neck, Wightman is now ranked as #2 IN THE WORLD for long course duathlon in the 70-74 age group!!
Modest about his accomplishment, Ron enjoyed the experience and gave credit to his local bike riding crew for keeping him “in-shape:”
“It was a fun experience meeting my Team USA teammates, encouraging and cheering for each other. I have to thank my friends in our local bike group for making the riding more fun.”