Posted by: Heart of America News | August 22, 2012

What’s the Sound of a Cheerleader? One Hand Clapping!

by Ron Adkins

Heart of American Triathlon News

We couldn’t help noticing Cindy Overton of Des Moines at the recent Pigman Long. She stood just outside the entrance to transition, cheering on each and every triathlete who passed by. And with every “great job,” or “keep it going,” Cindy waved one of those plastic clackers that makes the sound of applause.

“I used to ring a cowbell,” she said with a grin, “but my husband took it and hid it.”

Husband Ken was racing in his fourth Pigman that day. He does around four tri’s a year, and was preparing for the upcoming HyVee race. A big part of his motivation, he said, is getting such great moral support from Cindy, his “cheerleader and spotter.

“I really appreciate her standing out there and cheering me on,” he said. “I think I’d collapse somewhere out on the course without her.”

Another part of Ken’s motivation is the drive to keep up physically with his son in the National Guard. “He’s not a runner or triathlete,” he said, “but he’s this big, strong guy who lifts weights and works out and does tai kwon do.” Ken enjoys reminding his son that old dad is an athlete, too. And Cindy is more than happy doing what she can to keep that little rivalry going.

Ken and Cindy began their triathlon career in 2007. “I did that first one, and I’ve been hooked ever since,” said Ken.

Cindy shares the addiction. She came out to her first triathlon simply as moral support for her husband, but immediately felt the unique atmosphere of the race and is now one of triathlon’s most enthusiastic supporters. “I really enjoy the sport,” she said. “You can feel the adrenalin in the air. You just soak up all that positive energy as the people come and go.”

Cindy channels that amazing race day energy and gives it back to the athletes, standing in all kinds of weather for sometimes many hours, cheering on all the triathletes and making the sound of one hand clapping. It keeps her husband going, and gives a noticable lift to everyone else on the course. All triathletes are part of a family, she said.

Ken agreed. Triathletes, he said, “are like a little community of our own. There’s a great sense of comraderie.” That sense of community, he added, includes those family, fans, and friends, who stand along the side of the road, or at the entrance to transition, and give the racers that little extra spark to go another mile.

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