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A family of triathletes
BETHEL- Barb Rajaniemi competed in her first Maine State Aqua-bike in 2012 and decided for 2013 that she wanted to compete with more members of her family. This year, not only did she convince her cousins, Kim Garneau and Steph Hathaway, to join her, but she also got full participation from her granddaughter, Gracie Farnum, and grandson, Cameron Godbois.
“What’s so amazing about this whole thing,” noted Barb. “Is that Kim would go to swim practice with me, but I never thought she would want to do the triathlon. I was so excited when she agreed to do it.”
During this year’s event, Barb did the cycling portion of the event, while Kim did the swimming portion and Steph took care of the running.
“Steph used to run,” stated Barb. “But she has been out of it for a while. She went back through the Couch to 5K training to get ready for the event.”
Team Tri-Barka, as they called themselves, because all their maiden names were Barker, went on to finish third in the team events.
Barb joked, “I kept telling the girls that we were just doing it for fun. I’m the competitive one, so I’ll make up for all your times in the water and running.”
While Barb uses each event as a celebration of the hard work during her training, she was even more excited during this year’s event, because she was able to help two of her grandchildren keep motivated and watch them compete in the kids’ triathlon.
“Gracie and Cameron did great,” stated Barb. “I was so proud of them. I can’t wait for next year. I have 13 grandkids and I want one of them to step up and do the event with the Gracie and Cameron. I’m so excited. I’ll run next to them the whole way if I have to.”
Barb’s next goal is to travel to San Diego, where her cousin Steph lives, and run a 5K in October. “I still need work on my running, but I’m motivated. I’ll do great.”
Even though Barb states that she’s the competitive one of the group, she also admits that no matter how focused she is, she still slows up and takes time to cheer other on. She has been dubbed the Chit-Chatty-Cheerleader.