Greenfield Lightlife Triathlon
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Sunday, August 2, 2020 - Greenfield, Massachusetts
Only days
until the
Greenfield Triathlon

Sponsored by:
Presented by:
Greenfield Recreation Department

The Patrick Bell Award
An annual award presented by the Bell Family
honoring the youngest finisher of The Greenfield Triathlon
Year Recipient Age Home Town
2005 Michael Bell, Patrick’s younger brother 14 Greenfield, MA
2006 Aaron Wiswell 13 Newmarket, NH
2007 Duncan Diviua 15 Wilbraham, MA
2008 Lexi Skovran 12 Waterbury, CT
2009 Noah Kramer 10 Amherst, MA
2010 Philip Hempstead 10 Northampton, MA
2011 Philip Hempstead 11 Northampton, MA
2012 Madeline Scott 14 Bernardston, MA
2013 Noah Kramer 14 Amherst, MA
2014 Noel Anderson 15 Ashfield, MA
2015 Silas Anderson 13 Ashfield, MA
2016 Luke Scotera 10 Greenfield, MA
2017 Luke Scotera 11 Greenfield, MA
2018 Luke Scotera 12 Greenfield, MA
2019 Dana Warren 12 Easthampton, MA

“We triathletes …,” began 13 year old Patrick Bell at the family dinner table in the summer of 1995. He dismissed his older sibling’s retort, “but you’ve never done a triathlon…” with a snappy “but I’m gonna.” On that rainy August morning the optimistic youth trekked to the Green River to begin a joyful relationship with the sport of triathlon until his untimely death at age 23.

The idea of triathlon was suggested to Patrick by Cindy Mansur, who was looking to round out a team for her sons, Ethan and Seth. But on his first outing, Patrick was going it alone. Walking across the soggy field between numbering and transition, he was in awe of the spectacle. He was hooked. It was on the bike course of that first outing that he learned of the most important aspect of the sport, the camaraderie between competitors. Patrick finished at the bottom of the 29 and under age group that year. “Boy those people were really nice to me on the course.” He remarked. Racers gave him words of encouragement as they passed him on the course.

The next year, Patrick rode a borrowed road bike in need of some serious mechanical attention. Following the race he was congratulated by Ken Kuninski. At the end of the conversation Ken inquired about the bike. Hefting the bike, Ken declared it to be a “lead sled” and walked away with a curious look on his face. The next morning Ken showed up in the Bell’s driveway with a gift of a proper road bike. All his life, people were taken by Patrick’s cheerful determination. The following year, after the race, when asked if his fellow athletes still encouraged him on the road, Patrick thought for a moment and said, “only three people passed me.”

In his High School years at Deerfield Academy, Patrick encouraged his classmates to participate in the Greenfield Tri. Cycling at Deerfield, Patrick was introduced to Bob Perry who became both mentor and friend. During those years the number of young athletes crashing at the Bell house on Triathlon eve began to grow. During his college years, as Patrick’s triathlon world expanded from Cape Cod to Vermont to Lake Placid, Greenfield remained his favorite event. Year after year we would see more competitors from those venues give Greenfield a whirl as a result of his recommendation.

"The Trials of a Triathlete" From the Fall 2016 issue of Deerfield Magazine

Imagine spending four years preparing for a race that lasts about two hours. Then, imagine not being able to finish that race due to an injury. For Sarah (Groff) True, that scenario didn't require any imagination: It was her 2016 Olympic reality.

Sarah credits three people in particular with setting her on the path to becoming a world-class athlete. "Larry Boyle, the boys' swim coach, had a huge impact on me, even though he wasn't my coach; he always encouraged me to stick with swimming. I guess he saw more potential in me than I had in myself back then. So I stuck with it, and I'm glad I took his advice," said True, who went on to swim freestyle distance events at Middlebury and earned All-American laurels for her efforts.

As for peers, it was Patrick Bell '00 who Sarah credits for being the person who introduced her to the triathlon.
"Patrick and I became friends at Deerfield," said True, "and I'll never forget how infectious his love was for the triathlon. He invited me to Greenfield (MA) one summer to compete in the Greenfield Triathlon—it was his favorite, and it was one of the first ones I competed in."

Unfortunately, Patrick never got to see his friend and erstwhile protégé reach the international stage; he died suddenly in June of 2005 due to an undetected heart condition, shortly after completing a triathlon in Ashland, MA.

"I have to give Patrick so much credit for whatever I've been able to accomplish in the triathlon," said True. "He's one of the big reasons why I am a triathlete, and his memory will always be with me."

To read the full article about Sarah >>

Patrick’s love of triathlon, especially the Greenfield Tri, inspired his cousin Colin Wilson and youngest brother Michael to participate. Michael was the youngest sprint competitor in 2004. Following Patrick’s death in 2005, the Greenfield Triathlon that year was dedicated to his memory. All three of Patrick’s siblings, Becca, Peter and Michael, along with scores of friends from around New England entered the Greenfield Tri. One respectable contingent from Central Massachusetts (including the Minuteman Road Club) arrived sporting black arm bands bearing the letters PB.

The following year, 2006, saw the placement of a new bench near the transition area in Patrick’s memory. The bench was dedicated on Triathlon weekend by Win Whitcomb on behalf of the Cyclonauts Racers, who donated it. The Bell siblings participated again, along with 16 year old cousin, Rob. That year also saw Patrick’s Uncle Charlie Bell, then 51, make his annual trek from North Carolina to Greenfield, no longer as spectator but as a competitor. Charlie’s bride, Linda, followed him in transition from sidelines to finish line in 2007. They will both be racing again this year.

Proceeds to benefit Greenfield Recreation Department© 2019 Greenfield Recreation Department