the Insiders


July 18, 2013 4:10 PM


Racing With the Lundgrens

I spent Sunday morning with Terry J. Lundgren....

I spent Sunday morning with Terry J. Lundgren.

The chief of Macy's, along with his wife Tina and around 4,000 others, participated in the Aquaphor New York City Triathlon on a hot and steamy day in Manhattan. Tina Lundgren swam just under a mile in the Hudson River (the current was swift and the temperature delightful), rode about 25 miles on the West Side Highway and ran a 10K to a finish line in Central Park. Her husband was the runner on a relay team and sprinted to a 52-minute finish, helping his team to a 2:47 time, ranking them 15th among all teams participating.

The Lundgrens were racing on behalf of the Ronald McDonald House. Macy's recently sponsored its first 5K run/walk along the Hudson River (do I sense a theme here?), with proceeds going to the organization. The Ronald McDonald House team included participants from Macy's, Bloomingdale's, PVH, Kenneth Cole, Speedo, B. Michael, Lars Cosmetics and Amex, and together they raised $180,000 for the charity, a number that exceeded last year's, Lundgren said.

The festivities for the race, which is so popular it now runs a lottery for those attempting to enter, started Friday night with the Freshpair Underwear Run in Central Park. Approximately 500 triathletes stripped down to their briefs, boxers, jog bras and fig leaves for the 1.7-mile jaunt. Freshpair's chief executive, Matthew Butlein, proudly participated in a blue tank top and matching briefs.

This marked the 13th consecutive year of the New York City race, which draws participants from around the world. The timing of the race is dependent upon the currents in the river, which can be quite strong and often flow north -- not a good thing when the swim is in a southerly direction.

I've done the race 11 times, and it's always a crapshoot. There were years when it was so hot I nearly came down with heat stroke on the run. There was a time when the bacteria levels in the Hudson were so high that they turned it into a duathlon, meaning we had to run another 5K in place of the swim. There were years of rain when our bikes were sitting in mud puddles. But for a big-city event, it's well-organized and, frankly, supercool. As I waited on a barge for my turn to jump into the Hudson, I looked back at the walkway along the Hudson, and all I could see were thousands of people in wet suits with different color caps indicating their age, waiting to race. Pretty impressive sight.

The race was won this year by Jordan Jones, a male professional triathlete from Golden, Colo., who was also last year's victor, and Jenna Parker of Santa Monica, Calif. Jones finished in 1:49:05 and Parker in 2:01:50. Jennie Finch, the Olympic gold medal-winning softball player, completed the race in 2:51:15.

I didn't go quite that fast, but we all wound up at the same finish line eventually.
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