By Kate Quesada

When River Hills resident Theresa McComb began training for her first triathlon 10 years ago, she did it as a member of the FishHawk Triathlon Club (FTC) which gave her an advantage many athletes do not have, the support of a group of like-minded people. The FTC, a multi-sport club dedicated to developing athletes and promoting fitness and camaraderie, is gearing up for its busy season and is always looking for new members.

During a triathlon, athletes complete three different sporting events, usually a swim, followed by a bike ride, then a run. There are many different distances for triathlons, from sprints which are made up of a half mile swim, 12.4 mile bike ride and a 3.1 mile run, to a full Iron Man with a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and marathon length 26.2 mile run.

According to club president Andrew Ehlbeck, the group has about 70 members from throughout the Brandon area.

“Our members are interested in fitness at all different experience levels,” said Ehlbeck, who joined the group approximately 10 years ago. “We have people who have never done a tri to those who are doing up to three Iron Men a year.”

Members train together doing group works outs, bike rides, runs and swims. There is a group Facebook page where members post their training schedule and invite others to join them on.

“Nothing motivates you more than knowing your friends will be asking where you were if you don’t show up for a training run,” said Ehlbeck.

McComb and her training partner Kelly Ratcliff, who is also a River Hills resident, completed an Iron Man triathlon last year in North Carolina and credits the group for motivating them to keep up with the rigorous training schedule that has them waking up at 4 a.m. many days.

“You need some crazy friends like you that understand what your body goes through physically and mentally,” said McComb. “The support helps you push through those rough training days and keeps the fun and craziness going.”
The group also has annual dues which pay for post race events and membership to the USA Triathlon group. Email Ehlbeck at or find the FishHawk Triathlon group page on Facebook.

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Assignment Editor Kate Quesada started working at the Osprey Observer in 2004 after graduating from the University of South Florida with a masters degree in Mass Communications. Since then, she has held various positions at the paper and has been working as the assignment editor since January 2020. She lives in Lithia with her husband Mike and sons Dylan and Max and stays active in the community on school PTA boards and volunteering with local organizations.