They ‘Tri’ Harder

Philla Barkhorn founded Triwomen for the 'never-in-a-million-years-could-I-do-a-triathlon’ woman she once was.

Triwomen will compete in the Danskin Women’s Triathlon in Sandy Hook on September 14.

Philla Barkhorn was the last kid picked in gym class in elementary school. Today, the 46-year-old Chatham mother of three has found her inner athlete.

“I’m here for the ‘never-in-a-million-years-could-I-do-a-triathlon’ type of woman,” says Barkhorn, who trained for her first triathlon in 2005, and in 2006 founded Triwomen, which brings multi-sports to women of all ages, shapes, and fitness levels.

Triwomen now has more than 700 members in three branches (Chatham/Madison, Bridgewater, and Fanwood). The group will have 439 entrants among the 1,200 individuals participating when the Danskin Women’s Triathlon comes to Sandy Hook on September 14. The event is a benefit for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (Barkhorn is a breast cancer survivor). “This is a very ‘you-go-girl’ event,” Barkhorn says.

Triwomen’s Janet DeBiase, 52, encourages all women to get involved. “Triathlons in general have increased by 20 percent, with the highest surge in women’s participation,” says DeBiase, facility manager at the Chatham Club.

Among the Triwomen at Sandy Hook will be Chatham resident Audrey Serban, 37. “I have challenged my body and accomplished goals that I didn’t think were imaginable,” Serban says of her triathlon training.

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