Saturday at the Xterra Pan-American Championship off-road triathlon at Pineview Reservoir and Snowbasin Resort, many of the world’s elite athletes in the sport will compete for $80,000 in prize money.
None of them might have circumstances that are as unique as the triathlon relay team of Layton resident Karla Robins, and Ogden residents Sharlynn Jones and Savannah Jones.
They’re three women spanning three generations of the same family.
“I thought that it would be really neat after my mom had done a couple triathlons. I thought, ‘I think we can do this as a team and that would be cool, because it’s mom to daughter and mom to daughter again,’” Sharlynn Jones said.
Robins will start the race swimming in Pineview. She’ll hand off to her daughter Sharlynn, who’ll handle the mountain biking portion of the race, “which is the most difficult part,” Robins said.
Sharlynn will hand off to her daughter Savannah, who will run 3.8 miles starting at Snowbasin and then cross the finish line.
Robins has done a handful of sprint triathlons previously, which consist of a half-mile swim, a 12-mile bike ride and a 5-kilometer run. The three have never done an event like this together as one team.
“My mom has often been the one to drop me off and get me going, she’s always so excited for me, saying, ‘This is so cool that you do this,’ but she’s always swimming and I said, ‘You should do it!’” Sharlynn Jones said.
It was Sharlynn’s idea to have the three women sign up as a team, and she first had the idea a couple years ago. As Savannah, now in the ninth grade, got older, it became more realistic.
“Occasionally, over the years, I’ve gone with Sharlynn to Pineview to do a lake swim, and so when she brought up the idea, I thought, ‘Oh, that’s great! That’s doable, I know I can do it!’” Robins said.
Sharlynn said the mountain biking course is narrow and a bit dangerous, and would rather she do that portion instead of her mother or daughter, despite Savannah regularly biking four miles one way to school every day.
Earlier this week, the three family members went through the course, a shortened version of the one the elite athletes do, that they’ll race Saturday.
It was the first time Savannah had run 3.8 miles at once.
“I was really sore, but then I had to bike to school so that fixed some of it. And now I’m still sore, but it’s OK,” Savannah Jones said.
Sharlynn is an avid participant in these kinds of triathlons. She had written down on a piece of paper how many triathlons she’d raced and when they happened.
The fact it was all written on a piece of paper made Savannah laugh.
Savannah’s an avid book reader (she estimated she’s read around 30 books this calendar year) who would rather spend the Saturday morning reading instead of crossing the finish line.
But a couple years ago at school, she went out for track and field and found she enjoyed running — and was pretty good at it.
No matter where the team finishes, it has something that probably no other team is going to have on Saturday: three generations of the same family.