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2016 Monster Triathlon challenges Holloman athletes

Airman 1st Class Dayna, a fitness specialist with the 49th Force Support Squadron, marks an athlete’s arm before Holloman’s eighth annual Monster Triathlon at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. on Sept. 17, 2016. Holloman’s Monster Triathlon is hosted by the Domenici Fitness & Sports Center and the 49th Force Support Squadron. (Last names are being withheld due to operational requirements. U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alexis P. Docherty)

Airman 1st Class Dayna, a fitness specialist with the 49th Force Support Squadron, marks an athlete’s arm before Holloman’s eighth annual Monster Triathlon at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. on Sept. 17, 2016. Holloman’s Monster Triathlon is hosted by the Domenici Fitness & Sports Center and the 49th Force Support Squadron. (Last names are being withheld due to operational requirements. U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alexis P. Docherty)

A group of athletes prepare their equipment before Holloman’s eighth annual Monster Triathlon at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. on Sept. 17, 2016. Race participants were required to bring their own bikes, helmets and swim gear to the event. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alexis P. Docherty)

A group of athletes prepare their equipment before Holloman’s eighth annual Monster Triathlon at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. on Sept. 17, 2016. Race participants were required to bring their own bikes, helmets and swim gear to the event. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alexis P. Docherty)

A group of athletes race during Holloman’s eighth annual Monster Triathlon at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. on Sept. 17, 2016. Holloman’s first Monster Triathlon was held in 2009. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alexis P. Docherty)

A group of athletes race during Holloman’s eighth annual Monster Triathlon at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. on Sept. 17, 2016. Holloman’s first Monster Triathlon was held in 2009. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alexis P. Docherty)

A cyclist swiftly rounds a corner during Holloman’s eighth annual Monster Triathlon at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. on Sept. 17, 2016. Many race participants wore a hydrodynamic form of exercise attire called speedsuits. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alexis P. Docherty)

A cyclist swiftly rounds a corner during Holloman’s eighth annual Monster Triathlon at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. on Sept. 17, 2016. Many race participants wore a hydrodynamic form of exercise attire called speedsuits. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alexis P. Docherty)

An athlete slices through Holloman’s Olympic-sized recreational pool during Holloman’s eighth annual Monster Triathlon at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. on Sept. 17, 2016. Holloman’s triathlon is a three-part athletic competition that includes a 5 km run, a 30 km bike race and a 700 meter swim. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alexis P. Docherty)

An athlete slices through Holloman’s Olympic-sized recreational pool during Holloman’s eighth annual Monster Triathlon at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. on Sept. 17, 2016. Holloman’s triathlon is a three-part athletic competition that includes a 5 km run, a 30 km bike race and a 700 meter swim. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alexis P. Docherty)

Athletes compete in the 700 meter swimming portion of Holloman’s eighth annual Monster Triathlon at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. on Sept. 17, 2016. Light refreshments and snacks were provided to race participants by 49th Force Support Squadron event staff. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alexis P. Docherty)

Athletes compete in the 700 meter swimming portion of Holloman’s eighth annual Monster Triathlon at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. on Sept. 17, 2016. Light refreshments and snacks were provided to race participants by 49th Force Support Squadron event staff. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alexis P. Docherty)

A mother-and-daughter duo share a hug after competing in Holloman’s eighth annual Monster Triathlon at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. on Sept. 17, 2016. Race participants were able to compete solo or in teams, with family members or friends. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alexis P. Docherty)

A mother-and-daughter duo share a hug after competing in Holloman’s eighth annual Monster Triathlon at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. on Sept. 17, 2016. Race participants were able to compete solo or in teams, with family members or friends. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alexis P. Docherty)

The timer at Holloman’s eighth annual Monster Triathlon at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. on Sept. 17, 2016. Holloman’s Monster Triathlon started at 7:45 a.m. and lasted a total of 2 hours and 33 minutes.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alexis P. Docherty)

The timer at Holloman’s eighth annual Monster Triathlon at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. on Sept. 17, 2016. Holloman’s Monster Triathlon started at 7:45 a.m. and lasted a total of 2 hours and 33 minutes. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alexis P. Docherty)

HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. --

(Editor’s note: Last names are being withheld due to operational requirements.)

It’s early on a summer morning, the sky is a mixture of soft blue and orange hues, and a cyclist pedals across a roadway.

Droplets of sweat collect on his forehead as he charges forward, with his back arched and his body held snug against the handlebars of his bike. Click, click. He hears the sound of a second bike approaching, and within moments a second cyclist, armored with a black helmet, appears behind him. 

Her bike tires spin against the hot asphalt as she veers off to his right side. Her legs are swift as she pedals faster and faster, momentarily stealing the lead while competing in Holloman’s annual Monster Triathlon. 

Holloman Airmen and civilians just celebrated their eighth annual Monster Triathlon Sept. 19 here. Participants competed in a three-part athletic competition which included a 5 km run, a 30 km bike race and a 700 meter swim. The race kicked off at 7:45 a.m. at Holloman’s recreational pool and lasted 2 hours and 33 minutes.

The event, hosted by the Domenici Fitness & Sports Center and the 49th Force Support Squadron, attracted participants and supporters from across New Mexico.

Athletes came toting bikes, helmets and swim gear to use during the race. Light refreshments and a variation of healthy snacks were provided to participants by 49th FSS event staff.

“This event is hosted for the base community, to get people involved in fitness,” said Airman 1st Class Dayna, a fitness specialist with the 49th FSS. “It helps to promote a healthy lifestyle, and benefits a lot of people. Not just military (personnel), but their families, civilians and retirees as well. People come from all over southern New Mexico to participate.”

The annual triathlon attracts people from all walks of life and fitness levels. Race participants varied from teenagers to retirees and were able to compete solo or in teams.

“This is my first time doing anything like this and I loved it,” said Airman 1st Class Nickolus, a water and fuels system specialist with the 49th Material Maintenance Squadron. “It feels good to get inside your head and your body, and to feel everything working together. You’re all by yourself at that point.  There’s nothing better than just getting out on the road and running, biking and swimming. I’d do it again.”