Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, July 30, 2017
SABATINO TAKES A SPILL IN BIGGEST TRIATHLON IN THE STATE
“I was hoping to defend my title,” said John “Chachi” Sabatino, of Morris Plains. Sabatino had won the M50 age division in the New Jersey Triathlon Championship in 2016, finishing with a time of 2:04:53 for the Olympic distance triathlon
On Saturday, instead of another title Sabatino was in the road bed trying to shake off a sudden spill.
A lifeguard in his youth Sabatino counts on a good swim leg before hopping on the bike. He came out of the water in fourth place in his heat. Things were looking good.
When a kid on a bike decided to dash across the road in front of him he clearly underestimated the speed of the racers. Sabatino estimates he was traveling at 22 miles per hour. There was no way he was going to miss the kid. Over the handlebars he went. Miraculously he did not hit his head but there was plenty of unseen damage and plenty of damage to the bike.
In a Facebook post Sabatino states that, “Of course I hopped back on my bike to finish.”
With a front derailleur bent and broken and the chain severally bent Sabatino was able to force it to work, but with scraping sounds as the front derailleur switched on its own from the big to small ring.
Once his bike was racked Sabatino was off on the run portion of the race, only to realize that it wasn’t just the bike that was damaged. Instead of the seven minute per mile pace he expected, he was running at 8:20 pace. He finished the race in 2:42:29 – 38 minutes off his 2016 time.
“After the race, I went to medical and was cleared to go,” he wrote in his post. Later he went to the hospital in Morristown where he was diagnosed with a cracked rib and sporting a sizable area of road rash on his shoulder. Just go home and rest.
That didn’t happen. Later that night Sabatino’s wife Sara, found him passed out on the bathroom floor. She called for an ambulance and Sabatino spent the next three days in the hospital. Not one rib, but four ribs were cracked. He had what was rated as a Grade 1 liver bruise as well as contusions on the lung. He was cleared to go home Wednesday when his liver bloodwork came back clear.
He’s on the mend now but with those cracked ribs he isn’t sneezing or laughing. The doctors say it will take six to eight weeks to recover.
That will put him into mid-September before he is able to train or compete. This hasn’t been his year. A pulled hamstring in March set him back and now it’s a question of whether he will be able to gather the points he would need to make it into the top three in his age division in the New Jersey grand prix, a spot where he usually finishes. At mid-season Sabatino is missing four races and two of those are in the Category Three division. Yes, it could have been worse but hard not to wish that kid had stayed home last Saturday.
Other local runners who also do triathlons did well in the race. Liam Gallagher of Morristown finished fourth in the Elite Men division and second in the New Jersey Elite Men.
Rich Burke of Morristown was the second M50 New Jersey finisher. Taryn Ferrara of Morristown was first in the W25 division and Olivia Christmann of Mendham won the W20 division.
Susan Olesky of Mendham was first in the W60 New Jersey division with Susan Jankowitz of Sparta in second place.
Cande Olsen of Chatham won the W65 division with Mary Hager of Randolph second. Over a thousand athletes competed in the race, the largest in the state.
TEAM BLOKE 5K FOR BRAIN CANCER AWARENESS IS THIS SATURDAY, AUGUST 5TH IN MENDHAM.
Doug Clarke of Mendham, an outstanding runner and triathlete lost his battle with brain cancer but the race in his honor goes on to raise funds to help those afflicted with this deadly form of cancer.
A calendar of USATF sanctioned events can be found at www.usatfnj.org or at www.raceforum.com for running and tri and biathlon events.
Contact Madeline Bost at email@example.com