Brett Beckfield

Brett Beckfield, of Cohasset, and his friend Karl Larsen are set to complete three consecutive half Ironman triathlons to raise support for Tioga trails.

Three-day half triathlons to support Tioga recreation area

“Everyone wants to be Superman, Superdad for their kids. This instills a no-quit attitude - when things get hard you keep going.”

This is what Brett Beckfield, of Cohasset, says motivates himself to push his body to the extreme.

Last fall, Beckfield finished an Ironman Triathlon in Wisconsin. Widely considered one of the most difficult one-day sporting events in the world, Ironman Triathlons consist of 2.4 miles of swimming, a 112-mile bicycle ride and a marathon 26.22 mile run, raced in that order. Any participant who manages to complete the triathlon within strict time constraints earns the designation of an Ironman. Some Ironman participants even challenge themselves to complete the grueling triathlons held throughout the world as often as possible - sometimes even consecutively.

It’s overcoming pain that keeps participants going explained Beckfield.

“It’s my pain cave. I don’t quite know why I do it but it keeps my mind sharp, keeps me on my game,” he said.

To test himself further and give his hometown friends and neighbors an opportunity to give it a try themselves, Beckfield has organized Tiogaman. A three-day event, to be held Thursday - Saturday, Sept. 19, 20, 21, Tiogaman will consist of three consecutive half Ironmans or 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike ride and 13.1 half marathon.

Beckfield and his friend Karl Larsen have committed to completing all three days and the miles which will traverse lakes and routes in the Grand Rapids area. While it started as something that the two men set out to do on their own, Tiogaman has snowballed after a few people picked up on it and it has become bigger than they ever expected.

Tiogaman will not be a sanctioned triathlon but the men are inviting anyone who’s interested to join them in part or all of the race. People may also contribute financially.

To give back to the community, Beckfield and Larsen want to bring awareness to the new Tioga Mountain Bike recreation area. Any financial support gained through their efforts will go toward maintaining the new trail system in Cohasset. In fact, every dollar donated toward Tiogaman will be matched two to one by a fund established by the City of Cohasset.

“We have an awesome area here,” says Beckfield of the Tioga trails. “The businesses will really flourish from it, from people who come to eat, play and stay.”

Beckfield has created a promotional website for the event (Tiogaman.com) which features a video detailing the impetus for his idea.

“In 2009 when my wife and I graduated from college they weren’t really passing out jobs,” says Beckfield in the video as he explained that the couple decided to start their own businesses. “Then, boom, you get married, have kids, get a dog, buy a house and now you’re not creating business you’re running them. And you get in this rut, this fight. Society tells you to go out and just make it through the day, everyday.”

Not satisfied with that notion, that’s when Beckfield had an idea.

“I decided I wanna go out and do stuff that most people wouldn’t even think about doing.”

Even though his wife may have questioned his extreme goal, Beckfield said he wanted to use it as a way to teach his children to live life to the fullest.

“It comes down to the fact - for our kids sake - at the end of the day I want to live and not tell my kids how to live. By living, we let them watch us do it and show them how to do it. I don’t think there’s any better message than that.”

Beckfield adds, “When you find something that scares the living crap out of you, train for it and actually do it - no one can take that away from you.”

Anyone wishing to join Tiogaman in either one sport, one day or the whole thing is welcome. Because it is not a sanctioned course, there is no registration. There also will be no water stations, no aid stations, special needs or first aid. The swim portion will take place on Deer Lake, Sugar Lake and Pokegama with the land course around Itasca County. It is recommended that people swim with a buddy or attached to a swim buoy.

The course will have estimated start and end times for each portion or the race. Participants will know where to meet, when to start and where to end. Beckfield expects to release the course map and arrival/depart schedule next week.

There will be no trophies or medals.

“This is just another day in working through something difficult and constantly battling one’s inner self thought. The positive outcome will sustain itself for the rest of your life.”

The more people on the course, cheering on the sidelines the better, says Beckfield.

“We are so fortunate to have a place like Tioga Recreation in our area. Some people are unaware it exists. This finger of adventure diversifies our community and will create a large fiscal and economic footprint for generations to come.”

For more information, visit tiogaman.com.

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