SJC alum Simmons competed in Triathlon

Melissa Simmons has lived all around the world.

She spent four years in the United Kingdom, four in Greece, and two in Canada before returning to the states to live in Connecticut for five years.

But at the end of the day, the values instilled in her weren’t the result of any global experience.

They were born at home.

With her parents – Helen and John Frangos – as role models, Simmons learned the value of a solid work ethic. And, it’s translated into the athletic arena.

Last Saturday, Simmons put her body through what many many believe to be one its toughest tests – a full iron distance triathlon.

The results of the PPD Beach2Battleship Iron Distance Triathlon were more than pleasing for the 1986 St. John Central graduate and Yorkville native.

”I was very happy,” Simmons said last week from her Wilmington, N.C. home. ”I was fourth in my age group with a time of 12 hours and 46 seconds.”

That was good enough for 49th overall in the Women’s Division. More than 800 people participated.

”The conditions were perfect,” Simmons said of the Wilmington/Wrightsville Beach, N.C. event.

”It was a cold morning, but it warmed up.”

The PPD Beach2Battleship is an internationally recognized iron distance and half iron distance triathlon. Triathlete Magazine named it as one of the top 5 iron distance triathlons in the world.

Proceeds from the event benefited the Wilmington Family YMCA.

”I did the full event,” Simmons explained, noting she completed the half distance last year.

That consists of, in this order, a 2.4-mile swim, an 112-mile bicycle trek and a 26.2-mile run.

It was Simmons’ first attempt at the feat after competing in numerous marathons, including ones in Paris and Athens.

”My husband’s company sponsored it,” Simmons noted. ”My husband was so supportive. He’s the one that gave me the idea I should try it.”

Mr. Simmons is David Simmons, son of Fred and Mary Ann Simmons of Wheeling. He’s a graduate of Linsly. The couple have four children.

David, too, was a major motivating factor in Melissa not only finishing the event, but in preparing for it. In some respects, the training was more of a daunting task than the actual event.

”I trained for five months, six days a week,” she explained.

”I never missed a day of training and was never injured.”


”I listened to my body,” Simmons, 45, said. ”I don’t run every day and I balance it with the swimming and the biking.”

Simmons, who was self-trained for the event, finished the swim in 1:09, the bicycle portion in 6:45 and the run in 4:33.

”The running was, by far, the easiest,” Simmons said. ”It’s something you don’t really have to think about. The biking is the most difficult and the most dangerous.

”The biking was flat, but there were heavy, wicked winds and the timing wasn’t as fast as it could’ve been for many people.”

The swim took place in a channel that is connected to the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway; so it was a salt water swim but not in the ocean.

Participants were allowed to finish within 17 hours of the event’s 7:30 a.m. start provided they made the swimming and bicycle cutoff. Simmons met her goal of finishing in under 15 hours.

”I found it similar to being pregnant and being ready to being ready to be a mother cause you have to be ready for months and months to get ready for the delivery and the delivery is stronger than any high I’ve ever had,” Simmons said describing finishing the event.

So, will she try it again?

”It’s only been a few days and I feel fine, so I don’t know,” she said. ”It was a great experience, but it took a lot of time to prepare.”