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Babson + Beyond

Embracing a San Francisco Tradition

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To start the race, Lily Yie ’14 (green cap) jumps off the ferry near the shores of Alcatraz Island. Photo courtesy Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon

A chilly, windy San Francisco morning greeted the Babson teams waiting to compete in the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon. Usually, the race takes place in June, but due to conflicts with the America’s Cup, it was held in the brisk month of March. Babson, an official sponsor of the event for a second year, had 14 teams and three individuals registered, which represented the entire Babson community—faculty, staff, alumni, and students.

The race began with a 1.5-mile swim from the famous Alcatraz Island to shore. Reports pegged the water at a cold 51 degrees, but the choppy waves proved more challenging, say swimmers Lily Yie ’14 and Keith Rollag, associate professor of management. The choppiness made swimming freestyle and breathing without swallowing the salty water difficult, says Yie, a member of the varsity swimming and diving team. The waves also made seeing more difficult, adds Rollag, who has done several triathlons before, including an Ironman. Ask Yie and Rollag about the race, though, and they talk about how “fun,” “amazing,” and “memorable” participating was.

After the swim, teams transitioned to the bike portion of the race, which wound through 18 miles of hilly San Francisco streets. For Robyn Betts, MBA’08, a sports enthusiast who often commutes 27 miles round-trip by bike to work, the uphills surprisingly were her favorite part of the course. “I’ve never ridden on hills like that before,” says the director of the project management office in IT. The downhills, she notes, were actually more scary.

Wrapping up the event was an eight-mile run through varied terrain. Joshua Allison, MBA’13, who is part of the San Francisco Fast Track program, ran the final leg for his team. Allison also ran the race as part of a Babson team last year. The Equinox Sand Ladder along Baker Beach, with its more than 400 steps up a cliff, puts runners to the test, he says, adding “it was great to see all the Babson green along the course.”

Allison wasn’t the only one who noticed Babson’s presence. Babson signs and logos were everywhere, says Rollag. Says Yie, “I loved seeing all forms of Babson’s presence everywhere I turned.”

Building a positive spirit, both in the San Francisco area and among the Babson community, is one reason the College participates in the event, notes Sara Quist, marketing director of the graduate school. “We had faculty, staff, undergrads, alumni, grads, and even the dean interacting. It was fun for everyone to learn about each other,” she says. “Escape from Alcatraz is so unique. It’s been held in San Francisco for years, so it’s already a big part of the community. You can’t measure the value of being part of a community. It continues to make Babson a little different.” —DC