Triathlon comes to H.B.

On a breezy Saturday morning in the parking lot of Huntington State Beach, Jesus Trujillo was involved in some last-minute preparations before participating in the Huntington Beach triathlon and 5K.

The 23-year-old from Rowland Heights had half of his wetsuit on as he used a pump to inflate his bicycle tires before the “Surf City Sprint” started.

“I’ve always wanted to do a triathlon. I’ve been wanting to do it for years,” Trujillo said. “Then one day I was in a bike ride down in Long Beach and saw their poster. And there you go!”

He and 400 other triathletes and runners participated in the triathlon, sponsored by Tri the Beach, which required that they swim through 4-foot waves, bike down the Santa Ana River Trail and run through soft sand.

“It’s been over 20 years since Huntington Beach has had a triathlon,” Tri the Beach cofounder Kent Sommer said. “For a first-time event there, we’re definitely excited about the turnout.”

Triathletes swam 600 meters, biked for 10 miles along the bike trail and ran about three miles on the beach, Sommer said.

The Seal Beach-based group had its first event in October in Seal Beach and decided to expand south, said Joshua Rigsby, one of the founders of Tri the Beach.

A 5K run/walk event called “Run and Remember” was also held, with proceeds benefiting the nonprofit organization Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors.

The organization helps the families of those who have lost a loved one in the armed forces, Rigsby said.

“We have runners that are running in memory of their fallen hero,” he said.

Amy Goldstein, an 80-year-old resident from Huntington Beach, run-walks 10 miles every Saturday with her friend, she said.

When Goldstein saw that the 5K was on her route, she said it would make sense integrating it into her weekend routine.

“We can incorporate that into our run,” she said she told her friend. “So we ran three miles down, ran the 5K and ran home. We’ll be close enough to our 10 miles.”

Tri the Beach also had a beach cleanup after all the festivities were over.

“Part of our event [was] giving back to the beach,” Rigsby said. “At Seal Beach, for example, we were able to hold a beach cleanup after the event where we left the beach cleaner than we arrived. We actually picked up about 500 pounds of garbage. The same thing will be happening on Huntington Beach.”

Understanding the popularity of Surf City, Rigsby knew Huntington Beach would make for an attractive spot for a triathlon.

“Huntington Beach is kind of an event hot spot in Southern California,” he said. “It made sense to open up for that community down there.”

Local resident Marie Love-Edwards, who has participated in one other triathlon, said she has been waiting for one to return to Huntington Beach and wanted to be part of the event.

“The surf’s big and I’m loving it,” she said. “I’m from here and I grew up in those waves and I surf them and love them. I’m a little nervous before the start, but I’m stoked about the waves.”

Twitter: @acocarpio