2019 Member Spotlight – Victor MccollumSeptember, 2019
It started as a Bucket List item, more specifically “Complete a triathlon by age 50.” Funny story, I joined a running group to casually start improving my running skills. One day before a run I overheard a woman (who appeared to be out of shape) talking about the fact that she had completed her first triathlon. I looked at her and thought “if she can complete a triathlon, I KNOW I can!” (Little did I know that becoming a triathlete has NOTHING to do with your physical appearance.) Anyway, I immediately joined DC Tri’s NTP and began training. I completed my first triathlon at age 48.
What was your first triathlon?
My first official triathlon was Black Bear in Pennyslvania in June 2014. It was the NTP goal race that year.
What is the biggest mistake you’ve made in a triathlon?
The biggest mistake I’ve made (thus far) was to let my buddy talk me into signing up for the Olympic distance race at Peasant Man when I had only trained for the Sprint distance. The swim trashed me. I was so tired that I fell off my bike and almost had to crawl across the finish line to complete the run. I learned to always stay within my capabilities and training.
Any memorable races or experience?
My most memorable race (positive) was General Smallwood. It was my first Olympic race and I had a great swim. I actually felt better at the end of this race than the previous sprints I had done. My most memorable race (negative) was Rumpus in Bumpus. The water temperature was 62 degrees. I got vertigo when attempting to exit the water because I didn’t wear ear plugs. It took me almost 10 minutes in transition to get my balance back.
What do you enjoy outside of triathlon?
I enjoy traveling which allows me to swim, bike, and run in new and foreign places. Maintaining a consistent training and nutritional schedule while traveling abroad is very difficult. Pushing through jet lag can be a b&tch, and finding places to swim, bike, and even run can become a bit of a challenge. However, I have had the chance to run in the desert terrain and extreme heat of Saudi Arabia, cycling on a Formula I race track, and swim in the Aegean Sea.
Did you do NTP twice? How was it the second time around?
I didn’t officially do NTP twice, but I did participate in a number of NTP events during my second year. I learned so much in the NTP that I figured that I could learn so much more if I did it again…and I did! Plus, I felt like I could do better the second time around on the goal race. The second time around I learned more swim and cycling techniques whereas during the first time I was more focused on improving my endurance and conditioning.
Any fun facts you’d like to share?
This isn’t a fun fact, but one thing I enjoy doing is telling anyone who will listen about the awesomeness of doing triathlons, especially my African American friends. When I first started, I did not see many African Americans (or hardly anyone of color) doing triathlons. It’s just not a sport that is common in the African American culture. However, I am very happy to say that more and more of us are doing Tri’s now. The Triathlon world is a fun supportive community of people and a great way to stay fit.