NORTHBRIDGE, Mass. – Andrew Salmon “ran” the Blackstone Valley Education Foundation 5K and 10K Saturday morning, but not in his usual way – this race he ran from the sidelines, planning, supervising and making sure the runners stayed safe and had a good time.
It will be a totally different story next Saturday.
Sunday morning, Salmon, his wife Julie, and their children, Avery and Aubrie, are boarding a plane and heading for Hawaii where he will compete in the Ironman World Championship.
Salmon, who lives in Millbury and is executive director of Beaumont Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Center in Northbridge, qualified for a coveted spot in the elite competition with a 6th place finish in his age group (he is 33), and 21st place overall in a triathlon in Louisville, KY on Aug. 26.
Since 2004, Salmon has completed in hundreds of smaller triathlons.
The 34th Ironman World Championship event is in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. It involves a 2.4-mile ocean swim beginning and ending at Kailua Pier, a 112-mile bike course through scorching lava fields and along the Kohala Coast, and a 26.2-mile run on the Queen Ka’ahumanu highway, ending at Ali’I Drive.
Salmon, who trains at Whitin Community Center, has always been an athlete and very competitive. He played baseball at St. John’s and Wheaton’s, and got into triathlons a few years ago to stay in shape.
He likes triathlons, he said. “It’s one of the only sports where the person who works the hardest wins.’’ And it’s one of the few things that can’t be bought. “This is something you earn all on your own… there are no gifts,’’ he said.
He spends hours training. It takes 20 to 25 hours each week to finish his regimen of 10,000 yards swimming, 200 miles biking and 46 miles of running.
“I have a very patient wife,’’ he said. “I’m blessed to have people in my life who have been so supportive. Their flexibility and consideration with my hectic schedule has allowed me to get to where I am,” he said.
When it comes to Kona, Salmon just wants to “finish and enjoy it.” And he'd like to finish in under 10 hours.
“We are proud that Whitin Community Center has been part of Andrew’s training regimen,’’ said Michael Robertson, chairman of WCC’s board of trustees.