Year off doesn't hurt Curro
July 8, 2001
By Marty Stamper/The Meridian Star
After a one-year hiatus from the sport, Joseph Curro is back competing in triathlons and that's bad news for the rest of the athletes.
Curro, 31, won the 15th-annual Sunfish Summer Triathlon Saturday at Lake Okatibbee by nearly two minutes over Donny Forsyth.
Clinton's Curro turned in a time of 1:34:23, while Forsyth, 34, of Memphis finished at 1:36:07. A total of 302 individuals crossed the finish line, while 11 teams also completed the event which was held under extremely hot and muggy conditions.
Third place went to Roberto Lombilla, 29, of Spain by way of Jonesboro, Ga., with a time of 1:38:13.
Forrest Owens, 33, of Memphis came in fourth with a time of 1:39:44, while fifth place went to Mark Jacobs, 43, of Birmingham, Ala., with a time of 1:39:48.
Curro took last year off from triathlons, concentrating on bicycle racing instead. He's been a force in area triathlons since 1994, winning the Sunfish in 1995 and the Heart O' Dixie in 1994, 1995, and 1999. He was second in the 1999 Sunfish.
His second win here didn't come easy.
"The swim and the bike were really tough for me today," Curro said. "I don't know if it's a little bit of burnout setting in because of exchanging the long and the short distance races. It's been an every week to every two week thing for me and I think I just really need to back off of the racing because I feel a little bit of the burnout.
"It hadn't taken its toll until today, but I really felt worn out. I was really lucky. There were some really good people here and I was sort of running on pride when I got off the bike. I felt like I just needed to relax and just take one step at a time and just go."
Curro's swim time was 13:13 which had him in 35th place overall. On the bike, however, he had the second fastest time. His 53:02 for the 34K trailed only Forsyth's 51:58.
Curro then turned in a 28:09 on the run, good for third place overall in that stage.
When Curro felt bad, he turned to a family situation for inspiration.
"One of the things that keeps pulling me through in these races is that I've dedicated my season to my parents. My dad's got lung cancer and he's trying to work through the chemotherapy and the radiation. My mom has just been a pillar of strength for us as a family.
"When I start hurting out there, I just start thinking of them and what they've been going through. It just gives you that extra oomph to get out there and hurt a little more. It was hot out there today, the hottest it's been for me and I've raced all over the place up to this point.
"I'm just ecstatic and pleased. This has been somewhat of a comeback year for me. Taking last year off except for the cycling races gave me a different perspective on the sports and what I wanted. It's nice to be back in the multi-sport, that's where I belong. I'm just really pumped to be back in it.
"The race management just did an excellent job. Everything was really well-marked and the competition was great. This is the Southeast club championship and it's a big race. That just goes to show how good the race and the race management are."
Race director Emry Kennedy said much of the credit for that goes to the volunteers.
"We had a lot of great volunteers, especially all the volunteer fire departments in this area as well as the deputies," Kennedy said. "Craig Hitt and his entire family did a great job. You've got to have a lot of help to put this thing on. It's pretty stressful.
"I'm real happy with the turnout. We had 345 show up out of 370 that entered and we had a great race.
"We had a lot of people here for the first time. It's a great place to do a race."
Lombilla was actually the first to cross the finish line, but with staggered starts with five-second intervals he placed third overall.
"I start in March and go through October," Lombilla said of his triathlon schedule. "I do two or three a month.
"The run was very, very hot and I think a lot of people suffered. Some of the people were walking on the run. This is a fun race, but it is very challenging. There are a few hills on the bike and a few hills on the run. I like challenges."
Deanna Frank, 30, of Homewood, Ala., was the women's overall champion, turning in a time of 1:42:37 which was good for 12th place overall. She was the 1999 Heart O' Dixie winner along with Curro.
Second place went to Jennifer Forsyth, 28, of Memphis at 1:48:38. M.C. Jermann, 34, of Memphis came in third with a time of 1:53:46. Jermann was the 1996 Heart O' Dixie female champion. Marda Kaiser, 27, of Memphis was fourth and Joy Johnson, 24, of Germantown, Tenn., came in fifth.
The top local male finisher was again DeShon Davis, 31, of Meridian whose 1:42:51 was good for 13th place overall.
The top local female finisher was Frannie Childs, 28, of Enterprise who turned in a time of 2:04:28 for 145th place overall.
In the team competition, first place went to Taylor Wofford, Andy Till, and Trey Wofford with a time of 1:51:06. Second place went to David Moody and Brad Gipson at 1:55:45.
Marty Stamper is a sports writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at email@example.com.