Sisters go the distance to run race together

Janelle Higgins, left, and her sister, Merrin Higgins, celebrate Sunday after finishing the Desert Edge Triathlon at Highline State Park.

Janelle Higgins picked up speed as she neared the finish line.

It was her first-ever triathlon, and she was stoked.

Waiting for her at the finish line was older sister Merrin Higgins, who had finished 61 seconds prior. They both had huge smiles as they embraced at the finish of the Desert Edge Triathlon.

“I have always wanted to do a triathlon,” the 46-year-old Janelle said. “It was fun. It was definitely challenging but I’m glad I did it. Earlier this morning I wasn’t sure about but now, I’m really happy.”

The sisters, who are originally from Australia, congratulated one another as they compared notes on the race, and shared in the special and satisfying journey that brought them to Highline Sate Park to compete in the triathlon.

Merrin, 41, who was competing in her first triathlon in about a decade, made a rather epic journey to make it happen.

She traveled about 5,000 miles so she could go for a 750-meter swim, bike 13.2 miles and run a 5K with her sister.

But it was totally worth the trip all the way from London, England, to do a triathlon with her sister, who lives in Golden.

“It was fun,” Merrin said, then smiled. “I wish I would have done more training, but it was fun to get back into it.

“It was really motiving, and it was fun to do it together. We like doing stuff together.”

When Janelle decided it was time for her first triathlon, she went the Google route about six months ago to find the perfect triathlon race.

She spotted the Desert Edge Triathlon as a race late in the summer and knew that was the ticket.

Then it was time to train.

The sisters laugh when talking about their training and how they motivated each other from each side of the pond.

“When we started training, we would message each other. I’d be like ‘I went for a run today’ and she would say ‘I went for a swim today,’ ” Janelle said.

And back and forth it went from there.

Janelle would message her sister and ask “What are you doing today?”

Merrin rolled her eyes and smiled.

“When I’d hear from her, I’d be like ‘well I guess I better go for a run today.’ “

Janelle smiled: “It was really motivating.”

They started the swim together on Sunday but Merrin slowly edged away a little as the race developed.

“We started together but she was faster, and I kept looking for her,” Janelle said.

With both sisters clutching their well-deserved Desert Edge Triathlon drinking glasses given to all the finishers, they cheered on other competitors and soaked in achieving a special accomplishment.

“I’m really glad we got to do it,” Janelle said.

Merrin agreed with a big smile and a nod.


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