If you walked along Main Street in Riverhead Sunday morning you might have noticed a large contingency in yellow t-shirts with the words “Tim: This is War” on the back.
Well, if it was in fact a war, Tim won it.
Finishing in two hours, six minutes and 17 seconds, 22-year-old Tim Steiskal of Naugatuck, Conn. was the first winner of the Riverhead Rocks triathlon Sunday.
“It feels great,” Steiskal said. “Especially with the Olympics going on right now. That made this even more fun.”
Relatively young for a triathlete, Steiskal ran his first triathlon at the age of 14. To date, he’s run in 54 triathlons and he’s currently aiming to run in 12 to 15 events each year.
His long-term plan?
“I want to run in the Olympics in 2016 [in Brazil],” he said. And if he doesn’t make that one, he’d still be in his prime come 2020 — the prime years for a triathlete are between 28 and 38 years old.
On Sunday, the race wasn’t even close. Remarked one triathlete who finished in the top 5 to Steiskal, “I never even saw you out there.”
This is Steiskal’s third triathlon win of 2012 and he’s reached the podium in six of seven races this year. He says he doesn’t know exactly how many events he’s won in his career. “I think it’s in the teens now,” he said.
He plans to continue on and run the National Championships in Burlington, Vt. and the U.S. Open in Dallas, Texas later this year.
The “War” t-shirts were made by his girlfriend and her family and worn by a large group of friends and family that traveled across the Long Island Sound to see Steiskal claim victory Sunday. Naugatuck is northwest of New Haven.
“War” was the motto his coach used when Tim swam and ran cross country in high school before becoming captain of the swim team at Southern Connecticut.
Before every race Steiskal yells “This is war.”
“I compete for the thrill of it,” he said. “The inspiration that comes with being out there. A lot of people my age are partying and drinking lots of beer all the time. I’ll have some beers, but I’m also out there training.”
Steiskal said he trains up to 30 hours a week by biking, running and swimming.
On Sunday it all paid off.
Kristie Timmer, 32, of Merrick was the top female finisher, coming in at just over 2:20.
Read more on the race in Thursday’s issue of the Riverhead News-Review. You can also visit the event site for more information.