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Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

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Dean Ensey began competing in triathlons about seven years ago, for a couple of very simple reasons.

“I do it to stay in shape,” said Ensey, 60. “I’ve always enjoyed biking and running. A couple of buddies and I have gone on long-distance bike rides through Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula in Michigan. We rode from Toledo to Bar Harbor, Maine. I just enjoy being outside and I enjoy the competition and I enjoy staying in shape.”

Ensey, who has been the principal at Jerusalem Elementary School for three years after spending the previous 17 years in that capacity at Fassett Middle School, will compete in the 2012 Aquaphor New York City Triathlon on July 8.

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Jerusalem Elementary School
Principal Dean Ensey.

He will compete with his son-in-law, Brooks Butler, 31, an airline pilot from Fort Mill, S.C.

The Aquaphor consists of a 1.5K swim in the Hudson River, a 40K bike ride on the Henry Hudson Parkway and a 10K run through Central Park.

“Probably my best event is the run,” Ensey said. “I seem to come out about even with most of the guys in the swim and the bike – or maybe a little behind in the bike – but I can usually pass them in the run. I guess that’s because I do so much training running. I’m running about 36 miles a week when I get closer to races. I go a little harder in the spring.”

Ensey said he has competed in about 15 triathlons/marathons in the last seven years. His first triathlon was held at Maumee Bay State Park.

“I’ve done a couple Chicago marathons and I did the Disney World marathon,” Ensey said. “I started out doing some running and decided to try out doing some triathlons. Brooks and I did the Washington, D.C., triathlon last summer.

“I got Brooks into it,” he said. “At first, he didn’t like it at all. He went out running with my daughter (Kendra) and ran a mile and sat down and said, ‘This is really stupid.’ But he kept at it. He’s come in second overall in a couple of them, and he usually wins or comes close to winning his age group most of the time.”

Ensey and Butler competed in an Ironman event two years ago at Cedar Point. The Ironman consists of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike and a marathon (26.2 miles). Ensey placed second in his age group in a time of 12 hours, 12 minutes.

“I was completely surprised I was able to do it in that time,” Ensey said. “My body held up; I didn’t cramp up. I was very pleased with that time.”

The 6-foot, 173-pound Ensey said he trains year round, but he recently began “ramping up” his training to prepare for the triathlon in New York City. He will compete in the 60 to 64 age group.

“I do one or two things (bike, swim or run) per day,” Ensey said. “I usually get up about 5 o’clock and do my run. Sometimes I go right to the YMCA and swim. Now that the kids are out of school, I can do a little bit more. I usually go early in the morning and in the evening. I’ve dropped about 13 pounds in the last month.”

Ensey said he hopes to finish in the top 10 in his age group at the Aquaphor triathlon. A top-10 finish would qualify him to compete in a national 5150 Series event in Iowa in September.

“I qualified last year at the Washington, D.C., one, but I couldn’t go (to Iowa),” Ensey said. “Brooks qualified and went to Iowa and finished in the top three.”

Ensey has some advice for anyone contemplating taking up triathlons.

“I would say you need to start out slow,” he said. “Do the small things first, like the short triathlons. They have some short ones to try out to see if you like it. After you do it a little while, it’s contagious. Some people don’t like the swimming, or they don’t like to run. They have aquathons where you don’t have to run, you can just swim and bike.”

Ensey added that he would continue to compete in triathlons “as long as my body will hold up.”

“The best shape I was in was when I was training for the Ironman,” he said. “I was putting in four to five hours a day in the summertime doing a lot of biking and swimming and running. That was the best shape I’ve ever been in.”

Jerusalem Elementary Principal Dean Ensey and his son-in-law Brooks Butler, of Fort Mill, S.C., will compete in the 2012 Aquaphor New York City Triathlon July 8.

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