Camp Courageous 2018: Too Much Heart to Rain Out

By Ron Adkins

Heart of America Triathlon News

No Swimming
Prairie Park Fishery is only open to swimmers during the Camp Courageous Triathlon

The Camp Courageous Triathlon is, hands down, the sentimental favorite of the Heart of America series. Racers come from across the country – from Wilmington, Delaware and St. Joseph, Missouri, and everywhere in between – to take part.

Many, like Ken and Kim Kral of Hayward, Wisconsin, return every year because they have a personal connection with Camp Courageous. Ken and Kim worked as both volunteers and as paid staff several years ago. Once you experience the impact the Camp has on its guests, they said, it leaves and indelible impression.

Click here for Ken & Kim’s story

Others race to raise money and awareness the year-round respite care and recreational facility near Monticello, Iowa. As Co-Director Nick Gearhart declared at the pre-race meeting, all money raised at the Camp Courageous Triathlon goes toward the facility and its programming. “None of us are getting paid,” said Nick. “It’s a labor close to our hearts.” Learn more about Camp Courageous at

Even lightning, rain, and strong winds didn’t stop the dedicated triathletes. They waited out a line of thunderstorms that rolled through just before start time. This turned out to be a mixed blessing. The air temperature and humid decreased noticeably, and the cloud cover made for a very pleasant day.

Click for Joanna’s comments

The threat of another line of storms added incentive to run a fast race. Joanna Hall of Coralville picked up her second female overall crown in a row. She led the pack the entire course and posted a 1:11:43 – a full 8-plus minutes ahead of second place Pam Connolly and third place Kim Sprenger. Chicagoan

Click to hear from Andy


Andrew Dabson’s lead over second place Tom Rutkowski and third place Duane Staskel was equally impressive. Andrew crossed the line at 1:06:53. You can hear more about Joanna’s and Andrew’s day on the course in their video interviews.

Full results at

So many little details make the Camp Courageous Triathlon a very special experience. Camp Courageous is the only triathlon in the Heart of America series to boast live music. The band Horse Theory returned this year to jam for the appreciative crowd.

The winners’ medals and trophies are all hand-painted by Camp Courageous guests. Receiving such a unique prize, many triathletes said, was the highlight of the race.

Screenshot 2018-08-06 20.35.27
Click to hear from Tyler

Racers show a tremendous amount of heart at the Camp Courageous Triathlon. Case in point was Tyler Hobart of North Liberty. He completed the entire run course in his volunteer fireman gear. Find out why in his video interview.

Whatever the inspiration, the Camp Courageous Triathlon boasts one of the HOA Series’ most loyal and dedicated followings. They wait out storms that could easily cancel the event. They push themselves harder, but they finish with smiles on their faces.

And they look forward to the next year.

Published by Dennis Green

Middle-aged public radio manager, occasional writer and stage performer. You can find me at the Washington H.S. pool many mornings at 5:30am.

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