WYDaily.com is your source for free news and information in Williamsburg, James City & York Counties.
Adam Otstot, a James City County man who has competed in world-class Ironman races, will have the opportunity to achieve a special milestone locally this weekend.
On Sept. 12 and 13, the ninth annual Patriots Triathlon will be held in Williamsburg. Otstot, who considers the half-distance race his “home course,” has won the race for the past four years with hopes of winning his fifth consecutive title.
“I think it would be incredible to take home five straight wins in this race,” course record holder Otstot said. “I know a good chunk of people in the triathlon community here in the Hampton Roads area so they’re cheering me on by my first name. I don’t usually have a huge crew that travels with me.”
Being cheered on by friends and family is not an unfamiliar circumstance for Otstot, who ran for the College of William & Mary from 2000 to 2004. At the time, Otstot said he was “100 percent runner” and never dreamed of doing anything else competitively.
After he graduated from William & Mary, Otstot slowly began getting into cycling and swimming as forms of cross-training. Over time, Otstot began to enjoy cycling and wanted to compete competitively.
The perfect solution, he thought, was competing in duathlons — races that blend running and biking.
Otstot soon discovered duathlons were somewhat of a niche race in the U.S., which did not present many opportunities to race against other top athletes. It was this realization that pushed Otstot into triathlons.
“Triathlons are pretty prominent in North America,” Otstot said. “I already knew how to swim, so I figured I’d learn how to swim competitively and start doing triathlons.”
From 2006 to 2012, Otstot competed in triathlons around the country as an amateur racer and began placing well in events. A competitor at heart, Otstot wanted to push himself as an athlete and decided to race professionally.
In 2009, Otstot traveled to Hawaii to compete in the Ironman World Championships, which features some of the best triathletes in the world. During his first race, Otstot placed 37th his unfamiliarity with the course.
“All in all I had a good race that day,” Otstot said of his first appearance in the world championships. “It wasn’t horrible, but I felt a little unsatisfied. I spent a couple years working on my weaknesses.”
Otstot returned to the Ironman World Championships in 2012 and improved significantly on his first performance. After finishing the swim and biking portions of the race, Otstot was sitting around 50th place. A strong runner, Otstot was able to move himself up during the running portion of the race and earned a ninth-place finish in the amateur competition.
The top-10 finish allowed Otstot to begin racing professionally, which he has been doing since 2013.
Some professional triathletes turn racing into a full-time job, but such a lifestyle was not for Otstot. Instead, he works as the coordinator for health and physical education for WJCC Schools and chooses to race in his spare time.
The opportunity to race so close to home is one of the reasons Otstot loves participating in the Patriots Triathlon. Not only is Otstot able to train on the course regularly, but he also does not have to deal with booking hotels or arranging travel.
“Just the fact that you’re able to sleep in your own bed and eat a home-cooked meal the night before the race — it’s great,” Otstot joked. “Being able to come into this race and perform well makes me happy.”