As woman after woman dashed, jogged or walked across the finish line of the 15th Seattle Danskin Triathlon on Sunday at Genesee Park, public-address...

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As woman after woman dashed, jogged or walked across the finish line of the 15th Seattle Danskin Triathlon on Sunday at Genesee Park, public-address announcer Crete Kelly paused from calling out individual names and summarized the scene.

“Every racer has a story,” he said, “all of them good.”

Of the 3,496 entrants who completed Seattle’s sprint-length course — a 3/8-mile swim, 20-kilometer (12.4-mile) bike ride and 5K (3.1-mile) run — on a sometimes-rainy morning, few had a story more uplifting than the one carried by Cheryl Stumbo.

Stumbo, 44, was training for her first triathlon a year ago but was wounded in the July 2006 shooting at the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle, where she served as marketing director.

On the day the 2006 Seattle Danskin was run, Stumbo was undergoing one of the five surgeries required after a bullet entered her left side, passed through her intestines and went into her uterus. Meanwhile, 45 women from her church ran the race in her honor.

Stumbo recalls the time between her two major surgeries when she would exhaust herself walking the perimeter of her trauma surgery ward, a distance of a few hundred feet taking about 30 minutes.

“I had somebody on each arm, I’d walk with a rolling IV pole, and we’d take a half-hour to do a lap around this little ward,” she said.

She told her dad during that time she would take part in the 2007 triathlon, and began training on Sept. 6 — “the day I got home from the hospital,” she said

“She’s tough,” said Sam Stumbo, 69. “I knew she would do this. We’re very proud of her.”

Cheryl Stumbo, one of more than 65 members from her University Unitarian Church congregation who raced Sunday, completed the course in 2 hours, 19 minutes, 13 seconds.

“I finished,” she said. “That was my goal. I finished strong, I feel great, and I feel like I could do it all again. So it was a complete success.”

Stumbo, still in the process of regaining stamina and working part-time at the Jewish Federation, said she embraces the atmosphere she feels each day at her workplace: forward-looking, compassionate and optimistic.

“Life is a good thing,” she said. “Every moment is value. It’s not life in general. It’s every moment of every day. And today was a really special thing.”

It was also special for Barbara Oswald of Olympia, a nearly blind cancer survivor who, after watching the 2006 Seattle Danskin, got talked into competing in 2007.

“I said then if I was alive this year I would be here, but I meant as a spectator, not as a participant,” said Oswald, 53. “It’s Becca’s fault.”

Becca is Becca Flora, 44, of Bellevue. The two crossed paths at a Team Survivor Northwest retreat months ago. Flora, an experienced triathlete and also a cancer survivor, insisted that Oswald go the distance at the 2007 Danskin as a racer. “And it was all uphill from there,” Oswald joked.

Oswald, owner of an art gallery and a bed and breakfast in the Mount Baker neighborhood, has been blind all her life in her right eye and has only blurred vision in her left. She and Flora wore orange vests (for visually impaired racers) and stuck close through all three stages.

“I really had to think about what I was doing,” said Flora, who finished the race in 2:21:39. “It’s not just automatic. You have say, ‘Watch, there’s a hole, there’s people coming towards you.’ And then for the bike I had to learn to ride a tandem, which was a lot of fun. All of it was a lot of fun.”


Alexis Waddel, 32, of Monterey, Calif., was the top overall finisher with a time of 1:00:41. Jill Fry, 43, of Bellevue was second at 1:05:58. Both competed in elite class, which jumped into Lake Washington before 7 a.m. in the first wave of the rainy day.

Deanna Adler, the 30-year-old from Renton featured in Saturday’s Times who weighed 275 pounds three years ago, covered the course in 1:28:15, good for 236th overall. Tukwila’s Matsue Watanabe, at 80 the oldest competitor in the field, finished in 2:45:41.

Danskin Triathlon

At Genesee Park

Sprint distance: 3/8-mile swim, 20-kilometer (12.4-mile) bike,

5K (3.1-mile) run.


TOP INDIVIDUALS — 1, Alexis Waddel, Monterey, Calif., 1:00:41; 2, Jill Fry, Bellevue, 1:05:58; 3, Alina Brown, Bellingham, 1:07:48; 4, Whitney Sabin, Redmond, 1:09:03; 5, Evi Emmenegger, Seattle, 1:09:26; 6, Karin Gardner, Seattle, 1:10:22; 7, Nichole Jacobson, Bellevue, 1:10:39; 8, Patty Bredice, Kirkland, 1:10:53; 9, Jessica Cutler, Seattle, 1:11:15; 10, Melanie Haliburton, Portland, Ore., 1:11:36.

ELITE CLASS — 1, Alexis Waddel, Monterey, Calif., 1:00:41; 2, Jill Fry, Bellevue, 1:05:58; 3, Alina Brown, Bellingham, 1:07:48.

AGES 19 AND UNDER — 1, Alina Fong, Salt Lake City, 1:15:28; 2, Katie Tenneson, Seattle, 1:18:31; 3, Kylen Johnson, Seattle, 1:20:03.

AGES 20-24 — 1, Elisabeth Kingsley, Seattle, 1:13:55; 2, Melissa Verrilli, Seattle, 1:20:58; 3, Megan Marion, Puyallup, 1:21:24.

AGES 25-29 — 1, Marketa McGuire Elsner, Seattle, 1:16:22; 2, Brianna Home, Seattle, 1:18:24; 3, Karen Butler, Seattle, 1:18:27.

AGES 30-34 — 1, Heidi Gaertner, Seattle, 1:18:20; 2, Sarah Richardson, Bellingham, 1:18:38; 3, Angie Lancaster, Ferndale, 1:19:26.

AGES 35-39 — Patty Bredice, Kirkland, 1:10:53; 2, Kathy Morrison, Kent, 1:12:57; 3, Michelle Fjetland, Renton, 1:15:21.

AGES 40-44 — 1, Evi Emmenegger, Seattle, 1:09:26; 2, Kathy Stanley, Seattle, 1:15:10; 3, Nancy Huntamer, Edmonds, 1:15:21.

AGES 45-49 — 1, (tie), Hillary Stibbard-Terrell, Kenmore, and Bev Hanke, Aberdeen, 1:16:07; 3, Trisha Kuwhara, Renton, 01:17:42.

AGES 50-54 — Valerie Ritchie, Seattle, 1:17:03; 2, Diane Groff, Longmont, Colo., 1:17:07; 3, Sandy Laurence, Woodinville, 1:17:21.

AGES 55-59 — 1, Judith Sentz, Seattle, 1:22:31; 2, Patricia Buchanan, Langley, 1:23:26; 3, Lesley Wiscomb, Seattle, 1:25:01.

AGES 60-64 — 1, P.J. Waggoner, Kirkland, 1:28:37; 2, Judy Fisher, Auburn, 1:29:56; 3, Lynn Clark, Steilacoom, 1:31:28.

AGES 65-69 — 1, Margrit Schubiger, Seattle, 1:43:55; 2, Astrid Berg, Seattle, 1:45:21; 3, Lori Gard, Tacoma, 1:49:13.

AGES 70 AND UP — 1, Shirley Sturts, Coeur d’Alene, Id., 1:41:08; 2, Patricia Aldape, Mercer Island, 2:14:39; 3, Janet Bull, Hillsboro, Ore., 2:24:56.