Recently I had the opportunity to interview our youngest competitor in the upcoming REV3 Half Ironman, Caitlin Begg. We are thrilled to have her involved as well as her entire family and the Glen Rock Tri Club.  I am particularly impressed with Caitlin’s love of sports as she reminds me of myself when I was in high school.  I think it is terrific that Caitlin has gotten involved in Triathlon at such a young age.  She is a motivated teenager who ultimately has her site set on a full distance triathlon.  All the best Caitlin you are a great example to teens everywhere.  See you in June, for now enjoy our interview with this up and coming star.

Tell us a little about yourself and how you got involved in your first Triathlon?

Hi! I am a freshman in high school, at Glen Rock High School. I am athletic and involved in school, and I run winter track, swim, do triathlons, and play lacrosse. I am not your typical triathlete – I am six feet tall! I completed around 4 or 5 sprint triathlons last season, and I am very excited to be able to race in the REV3! I got involved in my first triathlon in 2005, when my dad mentioned that there was going to be a kid’s triathlon at West Point. I enjoyed myself very much during the race, and I have been hooked on the sport ever since!

What is your athletic background?

I am a lacrosse player by nature, and I have been playing since 2nd or 3rd grade. I also swam competitively for about a year, and I swim and coach my town swim team. I am a runner for winter track for my high school. After my dad started the Glen Rock Tri Club, I tried the West Point Kids Tri in 2005, and have been doing triathlons ever since.

How does it feel to be one of the youngest competitors in your sport?

It feels very empowering that I am able to compete in the sport of triathlons at such a young age. Triathlons keep me motivated all year round, and I love competing in them – regardless of my age. I am a normal teenager, just one who loves to compete in triathlons!

For the past six years you have competed in the Swim Across America.  Tell me a little about the event and what drove you to get involved at the age of eight?

Swim Across America is a wonderful event that I look forward to doing every year. It is a one, four, or six mile swim across Long Island Sound to raise money for cancer research. They have many other events across the country. My grandfather – my dad’s dad – passed away from cancer in 1971, so it is a cause that is close to home. When I was eight years old, I had been watching my dad participate in the event for a number of years, and I felt that it would be a great way to show my support for cancer research – even at such a young age. I know many people who have been affected by cancer, and it seemed like such a great event to help find a cure. It was fun do with my dad. He used to bring me to swim lesson at the local Y and Friendly’s afterwards  every Saturday from age 6 months to 4 years old. For the past six years we have done the swim together. His year the whole family did it (Mom, brother TJ also)

It must be very hard for you to find training partners.  As a pro I know how hard it is to stay motivated and compete at a high level.  How do you keep pushing yourself on a daily basis?

It can sometimes be difficult for me to find training partners, because not many people my age participate in triathlons. I train with my dad sometimes, and I also have a cousin that is my age named Erin that I train with every so often. It can be hard to stay motivated at times, but I always picture myself crossing the finish line, or scoring the winning goal in a game – and that keeps me motivated. I am someone who does not have to be nagged to exercise – I do it on my own, and I push myself to be the best I can be.

What words of advice would you give to a young athlete who is considering their first Triathlon?

I would tell them to go for it! No age is too young, and no distance is too much if you truly want to do it. If you train, anything is possible!

Your family is very involved in the sport.  Tell us about this unique dynamic:

Yes, triathlons are a family affair in the Begg family! My brother TJ, who is 11, has completed 4 sprint triathlons, his first sprint distance at age 8.  Over the summer, my cousins Erin and Billy, and me and my brother TJ participated in some sprint triathlons, including the Pat Griskus triathlon in Connecticut. My cousin Molly, who is 10, has completed some kids’ triathlons. She is a great athlete, and hopefully she will be joining us next year in sprint distance tris! My mom, Jen, has completed a few sprint distances, and my aunt Leah and Uncle Billy are also very involved in the sport.  The plan to do IMLP 08. My dad started the Glen Rock Tri Club In 2005, and he loves competing with his brother and sister-in-law in triathlons. Having so many family members involved makes competing in tris so much more enjoyable. It is so much fun to be able to cheer my cousins, aunt, uncle, brother, and dad across the finish line!

What made you choose REV3 for your first Half?

I thought that the REV3 seemed like such a unique event! It is the perfect race for me because it is so close to my hometown of Glen Rock, NJ. I am excited to race in the 1st annual REV3, and I am looking forward to the whole experience! The location is very family friendly (We have raced and cheered on family members at Quassy for years)

What are you looking forward to most about this event?

Besides crossing the finish line, I am looking forward most to the unique atmosphere of the race. I have never heard of a race that has cameras placed throughout the course!

Tell us about the Glen Rock Triathlon Club:

The Glen Rock Triathlon Club was started in 2005 by my dad, Tom Begg, and his friend, Jamie Fisher. It was created as an outlet for the average athletes in the sport, but there are athletes of all abilities in the club. Everyone is very friendly in the club, and it is great to be part of something that is both inclusive and fun. I have been to a couple of the monthly meetings, and at each one, I have learned something about the sport of triathlons.  (flat changing, proper running, stretching, race nurturance, You can spot members of the GRTRI Club at many races across the tri-state area with red and blue tie-dye jerseys!

Favorite Training Food?

My favorite training food would have to be the Odwalla banana nut bars and Cliff Shot Blocks. They give me energy and taste good at the same time.

Favorite Jonas Brothers Song? (my daughter loves them as well)

This is a tough one! I would have to go with “Can’t Have You” and “That’s Just the Way We Roll”. I like “Can’t Have You” because it is emotional and has meaningful lyrics that I can connect to. “That’s Just the Way We Roll” is a great song to run to, and the lyrics are upbeat and fun. I love listening to music when I run, and the Jonas Brothers are usually at the top of my playlist. I love their music, and my cousins Erin, Molly, and me have been to 5 of their concerts.  We saw them in upstate NY at  the original site of Woodstock this past year.

Future goals in the sport of Triathlon include…..

In the future, I would love to complete an Ironman! I know that if I work hard and train enough that I could do it. I love triathlons, and I hope that I will be participating them for a long time!

“It feels very empowering that I am able to compete in the sport of triathlons at such a young age… I am a normal teenager, just one who loves to compete in triathlons!”

-Caitlin Begg (Rev 3’s Youngest Competitor)