One of the most special and unique aspects of the Michigan Titanium race is that triathletes can have their family finish the race with them. After months of training, hardwork and time, getting to cross the finish line with the people you love most makes it all worth it.
While triathlon is techincally an individual sport, the race journey is never done alone. So, for TITANS like Kraig Hinken, sharing the most important part of the race with his wife and kids is what motivates him to keep going. For years his whole family have come out to support his 140.6 miles. They make signs, cheer him on and ultimately run the last leg of the race with him, so that as he crosses the finish line and checks another triathlon off his list, his team is surrounding him.
Meet Kraig Hinken, a MiTi TITAN
City: Jenison, Mich.
Distance: 140.6-mile Full
How did you first get involved in triathlon?
My mom and dad were down in Hawaii and called me from the start line of the 2006 Ironman world championship. I have always wanted to do a triathlon and that got me starting to think about them again.
What is your favorite discipline? And strongest?
Running and running.
What was the first triathlon you ever raced in?
Lake Macatawa triathlon.
What made you first decide to race the full 140.6-mile distance?
West Michigan’s first 140.6 was going to be in my backyard so I had to do it.
What was your training schedule like for that race?
I try to get my training in early or late. Family time is more important to me.
How was your race experience?
The first one was a tough one I kept saying one and done. However, I to be just did my 6th 140.6 in Chattanooga, although Chattanooga is actually 144.6. I have done the MITI event every year as well. I have done four 140.6 fulls, one 70.6 relay three 70.6 half-distance triathlon. I also have volunteered at the aid station one for the last two years.
What did you like specifically about the MiTi race experience?
The friendly staff and volunteers and it has an awesome swim course and the bike and run courses are a lot better than the first years. Plus the biggest benefit of doing MITI is being able to accomplish this amazing feat by crossing the finish line with the people you love. The price is a big plus too because it is about half the cost of an Ironman.
What does it mean to you to be able to share your triathlon experiences with your family?
My wife and kids mean the world to me and the thrill of kissing my wife and finishing with my kids have gotten me through the tough times of the race. My kids love crossing the finish line with me. We have so many awesome photos of them finishing with me and it is fun to look back and see how much they have grown. A big thanks to my wife Tonya, she is the reason my kids can finish with me. Thanks Tonya!
What advice would you give to someone looking to do the full distance for the first time?
Just go and have fun and enjoy the big accomplishment that swim bike running 140.6 miles is a party!
What makes you a TITAN?
My family and all the amazing people I have met at MITI over the past 8 years.