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Meet eight Upstate triathletes, as interest grows in sport that combines swimming, biking and running

The Athleta Iron Girl Syracuse Women‘s Triathlon, on Aug. 5, sold out 1,300 slots in 25.5 hours. The first Ironman triathlon in New York City, on Aug. 11, sold out 3,000 slots in 11 minutes. Membership in USA Triathlon has ballooned above 150,000, from a mere 15,000 in 1993.

Swimming, biking and running (no matter the distance, which varies depending on the race) are each challenging in their own way. Combined, they create a sport that has become enormously popular. Drawn by camaraderie, mental and physical intensity and a fun way to stay fit, triathletes of all ages are flocking to the sport. Meet eight triathletes from Upstate:



Darcy DiBiase 33, of Fayetteville

Assistant director of marketing

Bike: Women's Specialized Dolce Road Bike

Shoes: none (I'm a swimming purist)/ Louis Garneau Tri Speed/pink Brooks Adrenaline

High school activities: All things band. I never did much of anything athletic as a kid, although I always enjoyed swimming and riding my bike.

Strongest sport: Lately, it's been swimming.

Area for improvement: Running.  I've struggled with a hip injury the last year (hence all that swimming) and I walked the last leg of the IronGirl this year, which took a tremendous amount of self control. It was worth it to keep myself pain-free and to stay on track with my strength training to heal the injury.

Inspiration: I have an incredible network of triathletes I know through Gold's Gym in DeWitt.  Some are multi-finisher IronMen, and some are training for their first tri. Having a group of friends always ready for a swim, bike, run, while balancing life, work, kids is extremely motivating.

Pre-race ritual: Spaghetti and meatballs with milk for dinner the night before, and the transition bag packed and ready by the door.

Fuel before race: Banana wrapped in bread with peanut butter + coffee en route to the race, usually with friends.

Fuel during race: watered down Gatorade in my bike bottles and a chocolate gel with caffeine, taped to my bike with electrical tape.

Post-race reward: Cheeseburger, French fries and red wine.

Favorite race memory: I never competed in a race until my first IronGirl, three years ago.  It was an incredible day and easily my favorite memory. We were there far too early, so we saw a beautiful sunrise over the lake, my friends, parents, husband and kids were there to cheer me on, and I clocked my quickest time on the course. I couldn't wait to do another one.



Miriam Donohue, 28, of Syracuse
post-doctoral student in Neurosurgery

Bike: red, silver and black 2011 Giant Defy.

Shoes: Asics Gel-Landreth 7.

High school activity: Volleyball.

Strongest sport: Cycling.

Area for improvement: Right now my focus is on being a more efficient swimmer, a faster runner, and a stronger cyclist.

Inspiration: I am amazed, humbled, inspired, and always entertained by the incredible coaches and athletes that I have met through Fleet Feet Sports‘ training classes. I‘m willing to train six nights a week, in large part because I always look forward to spending time with my training buddies.

Pre-race ritual:
Singing in the car on the way to the race (to wake up my lungs and get me psyched); stretching, smiling (as a way of dispelling pre-race jitters); and saying thanks to God for getting me to the starting line.

Fuel before race: Powerbar Harvest whole grain energy bar in toffee chocolate chip.

Fuel during race: Honey Stinger Organic Energy Chews in pink lemonade flavor and/or any caffeine-free Nuun electrolyte tablets.

Post-race reward: Team meeting at Panera where we get to laugh over all the things that happened in the race and decide what we‘re signing up for next.

Favorite race memory: The bike course of a relay triathlon in Binghamton was much hillier than I‘d anticipated. Halfway up each hill, I kept telling myself, ‘They‘re waiting at the bottom, just make it over this one, this is the last hill.” Nine thousand (or so…) hills later, I did finally get to the end -- at which point our team ate celebratory pie and drank champagne.

Karen Gibbs pics 016


Nurse practitioner Karen Gibbs, 57 Manlius

Cardiopulmonary Surgery service

Bike: gray 10-year-old Trek.

Shoes: Saucony.

High school activities: Running, swimming, biking.

Strongest sport: Swimming.

Area for improvement: Biking.

Inspiration: Friends.

Pre-race ritual: Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

Fuel before race: Banana or some sort of carbohydrate.

Fuel during race: Just water.

Post-race reward: Cookout with friends.

Favorite race memory: Seeing my friends do so well.



Nurse Lorrie Langdon, 55, of Liverpool

Heart Failure Coordinator

Bike: teal 2-year-old Specialized.

Shoes: Saucony.

High school activity: Cheerleading.

Strongest sport: Biking.

Area for improvement: Running.

Inspiration:  Seeing women of all ages, shapes and sizes, including a 70-year-old woman.

Pre-race ritual: None.

Fuel before race: Whole wheat English muffin with peanut butter and a banana.

Fuel during race: Sports beans.

Post-race reward: Eating anything I want.

Favorite race memory: Participating with my two daughters and co-workers.



Nurse Amy Tetrault, 38, of Central Square

Associate Director, Heart and Vascular Center

Bike: a borrowed Trek hybrid.

Shoes: New Balance.

High school activities: Soccer, cross-country running, skiing, basketball and softball.

Strongest sport: Biking.

Area for improvement: Definitely running. I don't enjoy running and usually dread it.  Once I'm done, however, I always regret not putting more effort into it.  When I was younger and doing something I didn't enjoy, my father would always tell me to "dig deep." I'm hoping to do that this year and improve during this part.

Inspiration: The other participants. Everyone is there for a different reason, but everyone seems to be supportive of each other.

Fuel before race: Gatorade and energy bars.

Post-race reward: A cold beer and a fresh cheeseburger.

Favorite race memory: I was so surprised at how many people cheer on the participants. My husband still managed to be where I could see him after every leg that I completed.

Dan Waterman


Dan Waterman, 38, of North Syracuse

Clinical trainer

Bike: black 2011 Fuji D6.

Shoes:  Nike Lunarfly Shield.

High school activities: Swimming, baseball.

Strongest sport:  Cycling.

Area for improvement:  Distance running at race pace.

Inspiration: People who have the odds stacked against them, then overcome the odds. One of the greatest inspiration stories I've ever seen is Dick and Ricky Hoyt, (a father and son from Massachusetts who compete athletically, despite Ricky having cerebral palsy.) Lance Armstrong continues to inspire me as well. He balances his competitive spirit with personal contribution to society. His first book, ‘It's Not About the Bike' still rates as one of my favorite books of all time.

Pre-race ritual: Don't do anything different than usual. The biggest mistake you can make is to do something new.

Fuel before race: I'm a big fan of Ironman Perform and Cytomax. Both are sensitive to my stomach and provide great fuel, as well as recovery formulas.

Fuel during race: Ironman Perform and Cytomax. I'll enjoy a cold Coca-Cola at times.

Post-race reward: Pizza.

Favorite race memory: Seeing my wife holding my dog in one hand and a sign that said “Go, Honey, Go” in the other hand at the top of one of the toughest hills I've ever climbed.


Cathy Wenthen (Cadley)


Catherine Wenthen, 47, of Fayetteville

Senior web designer, Educational Communications

Bike: silver second-hand Cannondale 211.

Shoes: Asics.

High school activity: Volleyball.

Strongest sport: Swimming

Area for improvement: My running is pathetic; much room for improvement.

Inspiration: I'm inspired by so many -- including friends -- who have courageously faced cancer. I think of them while I'm racing.

Pre-race ritual: Check and double check all the transition area stuff: helmet, eyewear, bike shoes, socks, etc. and try to organize my transition space.

Fuel before race: Coffee, yogurt, organic multi grain raisin bread from Wegmans.

Fuel during race: None.

Post-race reward: A nice, hot bubble bath.

Favorite race memory: Just finishing.

Gina Lozito-Yorton


Gina Lozito-Yorton, 38, of Syracuse

Certified child life specialist for pediatric hematology/oncology

Bike: black and white 2012 Kestrel Talon 105.

Shoes: Saucony.

High school activity: Swimming.

Strongest sport: Swimming, even though I hate swimming in open water.

Area for improvement: Running.

Inspiration: My patients, my parents, my husband and most of all, my sister.

Pre-race ritual: I think my way through the race.

Fuel before race: Peanut butter on toast, and a banana.

Fuel during race: energy gel.

Post race reward: Beer or ice cream.

Favorite race memory: High fiving my father as I came out of the water and ran toward transition last year at Iron Girl.