1st Annual Groton Forest Iron Matron Triathlon

 Photos and Story By Trish Griswold

 Reprinted with permission from “The Bridge Weekly”  August 28th 2008 Issue

Corah Beardsley (R), her mother, Robin Edwards (center), and Robin’s aunt, Debra Tinkham (L), were part of a 3-generation team that competed in this year’s triathlon.

Mairead, Caleb, and Liam Genereaux (L-R) root for their mother, Jamie O’Connor, as she and a group of friends turn onto US Route 232 near the Upper Valley Grill in Groton.

Safety was paramount as riders approached a 4-way intersection on Creamery Road in South Ryegate.

Kim Goody accomplished an incredible feat, completing all three endurance events in 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Heather Alger returns to shore after swimming the length of Ricker’s Pond.

GROTON – A sisterhood of women, fifteen strong, recently hosted and participated in the1st Annual Groton Forest Iron Matron Triathlon. “The whole point is to get together and to recognize what we’re capable of,” says Ryegate resident Gail LaVaude, who helped organize the event. “This is not a competition but a gathering of friends.”

The core group of Iron Matrons is an informal network of mothers who assembled as a small children’s playgroup several years ago. “We’ve known each other since our babies were born,” Gail says, emphasizing that she and her cohorts have “counted on” and “depended on” each other for continued emotional support and encouragement.

Since its inception, the group has expanded to include grandmothers, aunts, mothers and daughters who enjoy female companionship. Together, they have gone cross-country skiing, camping and biking, but this year’s goal was to organize a miniature triathlon similar to the Iron Man Competition held each year in Kailua-Kona, HA, but on a much smaller scale.

Each woman established a personal goal based on her own level of comfort and physical prowess. Everyone trained for the event, either on their own or together in small groups, and though some aspired to complete the 3-event endurance challenge within a certain time frame, others simply set their sights on crossing the finish line.

The 7.5-mile bicycle ride began at Alley’s Market in South Ryegate, where participants hopped on their bikes and headed up Creamery Road across US Route 302 following Barr Drive until they reached the Clough Farm. From there, the Matrons peddled along the railroad bed to Groton’s Upper Valley Grill. They crossed US Route 302 and took US Route 232 to the Ricker Pond Shelter.

Participants dropped their bikes and ran, jogged or walked 1 ½ miles up the railroad bed and back. The final endurance event was a swim along the shore of Ricker’s Pond.

Family and friends cheered as their loved ones crossed the finish line. “It was exhilarating,” said one participant, sharing her excitement about the experience.

To celebrate their friendships, both new and old, as well as their personal accomplishments, the Iron Matrons and their families held a potluck luncheon at the Ricker’s Pond Shelter.

“We have had so much fun supporting and meeting each other that we would like to make this a yearly event,” Gail says. “And we’re always open to new people joining the group.”



Participants in the 1st Annual Groton Forest Iron Matron Triathlon (L-R) are: Regina Hazel, Liane Allen, Debra Tinkham, Jamie O’Connor, Kathleen Lamberton, Robin Edwards, Lisa Hart, Corah Beardsley, Deb Orelup, Fay Homan, Kim Goody, Heather Alger, Gail LaVaude, Donna Babic and Anne Olivo.













Registered Nurse Kathleen Lamberton works in the Cardiac Rehabilitation Unit at Cottage Hospital in Woodsville, NH. Kathleen is also a member of the “Be Well – Walk Everyday and Love Life” Wellness Program offered to Cottage Hospital employees and volunteers. Kathleen says that her inspiration for participating in the triathlon is one of her patients, an 80-year-old man who was an avid bicyclist until stricken with heart disease. Kathleen is happy to report, however, that her patient was able to participate in this year’s Prouty Century Bike Ride and Challenge Walk -- just three years after undergoing bypass surgery -- and the duo plans to ride together in the Prouty next year.