To get into triathlons, all Seth Waltman had to do was make his wife a little mad.
In May of 2009, Waltman bought a bike. At the time, he wasn’t very active, so his wife questioned his motive for buying it. She made it quite clear that he “better use that bike.”
Waltman knew he’d left himself no choice, so he signed up to race in the inaugural Tri-2-Beat Cancer Triathlon held at Sandy Creek Park in Athens.
“I’ll do that because she was really angry,” Waltman said. “So I did it that year — slow, but I got through it. I did it the next year, then I didn’t really do it again.”
But Waltman’s world of competitive racing had only just begun.
In the fall of 2012, he started seeing some of his friends posting to Facebook about a variety of different races. Then he saw a post for an Ironman in Augusta. Waltman figured if they could do it, so could he, though he knew he’d have to train.
At the time, Waltman’s son competed for a youth triathlon team coached by Harvey Gayer. Waltman approached Gayer to see if he could train him to get ready for the Ironman.
Gayer was happy to help.
“The rest is history,” Waltman said. “I’ve done two more half Irons. I did a full Ironman and numerous sprints. The list goes on.”
As Waltman lost some weight, his times got faster. He built a bunch of friendships, Gayer included, that helped motivate his progress. Because of his improvements, Waltman joined TriCoachGeorgia, a local triathlon team headed by Gayer.
From December to February, the team competed in a USA Triathlon national competition called the National Challenge Competition that helps encourage triathlon training during the winter months.
Each team tracked individual mileage over that time, which translated to a points system. Swimming a mile earned 10 points. Running a mile was worth three. A mile on the bike was good enough for one point.
As the competition developed, Waltman — at the end of each month — found himself in the top 10 nationally among 4350 athletes. In the middle of February, still in the top 10, Waltman finally decided that he wanted to prove to himself and others that he could finish in the top 10.
After running 767 miles, swimming 53 miles and biking 2621 miles, Waltman placed 7th out of all competitors. As a result, he’s been named this edition’s Ellis Pain Center/Oconee Enterprise Athlete of the Week.
“Not everybody knows, but in the triathlon community, it’s a pretty cool thing,” Waltman said.
But Waltman wasn’t alone in his successful endeavor.
As a team, TriCoachGeorgia — a team made up of Waltman, Gayer and numerous others, including member of the club’s youth team TriKidsGeorgia — took the first-place crown over a team from Atlanta. They did so just barely, however, winning by about 200 points, which isn’t much when dealing with 70-person teams.
“We beat the team from Atlanta on the last day,” Waltman said. “Over three months, we’re talking about a pretty small margin it was close.”