ILWACO — Nearly two dozen competitors swam, biked and ran their way to the finish line Saturday at the 3rd annual Peninsula Poverty Response Cape D Sprint Triathlon in Ilwaco. Ginny Meadway was the overall winner, with a time of 1:09:24.3. Nathan Jakubowski was the top finisher in the men’s group, with a time of 1:15:27.8.

The triathlon kicked off a little after 10 a.m. with a swim in Black Lake. A full range of styles and competitive levels were on display. Where some sported swim trunks and a leisurely backstroke, others snapped on goggles and were full-speed from the starting gun. After the swim, competitors stripped out of wetsuits and climbed onto bikes for a race around Cape Disappointment. Past cranberry bogs and through dense coastal forest, the race weaved through some of the most picturesque parts of the Peninsula. In the final leg of the race, the tri-athletes ran around Black Lake before reaching the finish line under a bridge of balloons and a cheering crowd.

Slight tweaks — from rerouting specific events and marking off side trails — helped competitors stay on course, organizer Vinessa Karnofski said. Guides and spotters were also spaced strategically throughout. Overall, 22 competitors showed up for the race, about 15 fewer last year, which Karnofski attributed to months of rotten weather.

“We feel it’s based on how long winter went this year,” Karnofski said, “People just weren’t in the mood to get out and compete.”

While the event had a dip in participation, it saw a rise in local sponsorship.

“We probably quadrupled our sponsors this year,” Karnofski said. “Outrunning Poverty” was the theme of the event, which raises money and awareness for local poverty relief efforts, including Project Homelessness Connect and Overnight Winter Lodging. Originally founded by Ilwaco Parks and Recreation in 2012, the triathlon is now sponsored by the local nonprofit Peninsula Poverty Response (PPR) in partnership with Ilwaco Parks and Recreation and the SALT Hotel. Entry fees ranged from $50 to $120 with all proceeds used to support PPR projects and reducing suffering related to poverty.

First responders from the South Pacific County Technical Rescue, Ilwaco Fire Department and Long Beach Police Department were on hand to oversee the event.

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