Ellington’s Hildebrand takes hometown triathlon

ELLINGTON — It is only fitting that a proud community like Ellington crowned a proud Ellington resident as the Ellington Triathlon Champion Sunday morning.

In just his second triathlon ever, David Hildebrand took the race, by sea, road and foot.

“I expected to win,” the high level road biker said. “I started running about four weeks ago. I don’t swim but I made it through the swim as best I can, and since I live right here I was able to come out on the course to practice.”

Clocking in at an impressive 57 minutes and 52 seconds, Hildebrand finished over two minutes faster than second-place finalist Chris Winter.

He also beat out the top female finisher, Allie Burdick, who posted a time of 1:06:30.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Hildebrand said. “ I love this because its Ellington, I am proud that our town puts this on. I can’t believe how well organized it is. The volunteers come out and give us a great opportunity to have fun.”

The organizers, led by Bill Dougherty, have just as much fun putting on the event as participants like Hildebrand and his wife Nicole have racing in it.

“It’s grown every year for us,” Dougherty said. “We get a lot of people coming out for their first triathlon, and a lot of their fifth triathlon. It’s a beginner race. It’s a beautiful course, and there’s a nice small competitive group of the top 25 that are very competitive.”

With nearly a dozen iron men using the day as a volunteer opportunity, the proceeds go to various deserving causes in the community.

“We raise money for the Ellington fuel fund,” he said, “we also donated the buoys last year.”

The fuel fund is a line item in the town budget, meant to help curb high gas prices. The Triathlon bas become the main contributor to the fund.

But just like those combatants in the three-skill race, the organizers are competitive too.

“Tolland started [a triathlon]  about seven years ago,” Dougherty said smiling, “and we thought, ‘what a beautiful setting we have, Ellington should have it instead of Tolland.’ There’s a little rivalry there. Some of us who were triathletes got together and organized it.”

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