Sages, Nelson get 70.3 medals

By Randy Lefko Sports Editor
Posted 10/6/21

Larry Sage wasn’t feeling well on race day at the Ironman Augusta 70.3 triathlon on September 25, but wife Barbara just kept repeating “You got this” as the pair finished together in the …

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Sages, Nelson get 70.3 medals

Posted

Larry Sage wasn’t feeling well on race day at the Ironman Augusta 70.3 triathlon on September 25, but wife Barbara just kept repeating “You got this” as the pair finished together in the day-long swim-bike-run race in Georgia.

For Fleming Island High 2018 graduate and cross country/track standout Sydney Nelson, the race was part of a college buildup that started at the whim of a friend.

“The best part was hearing “And here is Larry and Barbara Sage from Fleming Island crossing the finish line’,” said Barbara Sage, 52, in her first attempt at the 1.2 mile swim in the Augusta River, followed by a 56-mile bike race through downtown Atlanta and the back country of Augusta where several long climbs and technical turns awaited, and, finally, a 13.1 mile run which was fairly flat and considered fast. I knew I was not a very good swimmer and when I survived that, I just kept moving forward.”

Nelson, who attends University of Florida with degree aspirations in psychology and spanish, has used her endurance training from Fleming Island High to start triathlons with the sprints, progress to longer races, then culminate with a strong effort in Augusta. Augusta was her second half ironman triathlon.

“A friend got me in the University of Florida triathlon club in Gainesville and that’s how it started,” said Nelson, 22. “I did a sprint race, won my age group, did a Clermont race and did well and just enjoyed the team aspect of the triathlon team. The half ironman was a big challenge, but I felt I did well.”

Larry Sage, who completed his first half ironman event last year, was impressed with his wife’s preparation for the event and saw her determination as a complement to her raising two outstanding athlete twin daughters; Kendall and Courtney, who both excelled in track, swimming and basketball at St. Johns Country Day School.

“I think the genetics thing normally goes from parent to child, but I think we both had some maybe inspirational genetics from seeing the success of our two daughters and knowing that they were right there with us along the way,” said Barbara Sage, noting that daughter Kendall, a student at Clemson University, was able to attend the race while Courtney, in school in Statesboro, Ga, was getting text feeds from her sister. “One thing we know as a family is that Sages’ don’t quit.”

At the race, Barbara Sage’s day started with an oatmeal meal for breakfast and some concern for husband Larry’s well-being. “He was feeling kind of flu-like and that was on my mind, but he kept telling me ‘You got this’,” said Barbara. “When we passed each other on the bike going opposite directions, I was a little relieved that he was still in the race. When I got to near the 10 mile mark of the run, my sister was there and said Larry was just ahead of me. We were able to finish together which made it very special.”

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