Local Joe D’Amico tackles Florida Sprint Triathlon

July 26, 2019

My friendship with local Joe D’Amico goes back over 25 years when he would volunteer to get up at 5:30 a.m. on the weekends to help me set up the 5K courses. That went on for 10 straight years until he woke up and said, “I’m retiring.” I taught his kids at Shields Elementary and coached two of the three kids on my cross country team. Joe was the guy I handed the cross country team to the night before they were to board a bus for the AAU Cross Country Nationals in Kentucky; I was staying back because my wife went into labor a month early with our now-20-year-old son Ben. Joe has always been there for my family, so I will share this nice karma story.

Last summer, my oldest son Jake was hot into the triathlon scene. He won the Tri Fort DeSoto Triathlon Series just outside Tampa, Fla., and Joe came to watch Jake compete in the race.  

“I was watching all these athletes of all different shapes, sizes and ability levels compete in the triathlon. Then I saw an 80-year-old woman and said to myself, ‘I can do this,’” said D’Amico.

Joe had lost a good amount of weight during the past few years through biking and changing his diet, and he was feeling like he wanted to give a sprint triathlon a try.

Joe reached out to Jake for a program and some guidance, and Jake quickly became “Coach Jake,” as he put Joe on a plan of swimming, running and biking. 

“I have had my knee done twice, so I knew that running was going to be tough, but I felt good about the biking and swimming, and with Jake leading me, I was ready to give it a try,” said Joe.

Joe trained all fall and winter, kept a healthy diet going, and started to become stronger in all three phases of the triathlon as Jake emailed info along to get him ready for the challenge.

The same triathlon, the Fort DeSoto Triathlon, was chosen as his event. As race day came, Joe’s family and Coach Jake were at his side for support as he completed a 400-meter swim, a 10-mile bike and a 5K run in a time of 1:45:46 for sixth in the 60-64 age group. I got the call soon after he finished. He and Jake had kept the partnership quiet for almost a year, so we were pleasantly surprised and proud of the J & J duo.

“What a great feeling it was to complete this race, and I could not have done it without Coach Jake,” said Joe. “I made it to the finish – I was not last – and you have one heck of a great kid that got me through it.”

If I know Joe D’Amico like I do, this race won’t be his last. His triathlon events are just beginning ...

Run Green Mountain

The Nike Green Mountain Running Camp was held this past week with a lot of local flavor traveling north to take part. The GMRC is in its 45th summer on the gorgeous 1,300-acre campus of Kimball Union Academy in Meriden, N.H. The camp is just 13 miles south of Dartmouth College, offering miles of beautiful, wide running trails right from campus. The Nike camp is a perfect mix of learning, training and recreation for both high school and middle school cross country runners. Locally, we sent coach Derek Shockro and daughter Lainey, Ryan Baker, Justin Friscia, Jakob Hayes, Emily Trout, Devin Hundley and Cate DeSousa.

One of the highlights of the camp for the kids is to be able to meet and hang out with Andrew Wheating, an American middle-distance legend who serves as co-director of GMRC. From 2008 to 2012, the 6-foot-5 athlete towered over his competition, won three NCAA titles, made two Olympic teams and a World Championship team, and ran personal bests of 1:44.56 for 800, 3:30.90 for 1,500 (No. 5 all-time among Americans), and 3:51.74 for the mile.

“The Delaware GMRC crew has brought the energy to camp,” said Wheating. “They have been great, and we look forward to seeing more of their teammates in the coming years.”

Emily Trout, a cross country standout at Sussex Academy, loved the camp experience. 

“I am having a great time at GMRC,” she said. “I have gained more running knowledge, been challenged in our daily training sessions, and have met awesome people with my Seashore Striders teammates. I am definitely coming back next year.”

Beacon eighth-grader Lainey Shockro cherishes the camp memories and has become a solid veteran.  

“I love coming to camp every year since I was in fourth grade,” she said. “I see my GMRC friends and family and get to meet more. The training is great and so are the memories.”

Best Little Race in Delaware

The 36th annual Dam Mill 5K will take off Saturday, July 27, from Cupola Park in Millsboro. The proceeds will benefit the Millsboro Fire Department. Race-day registration will begin at 6:15 a.m. with the start scheduled for 7:30 a.m. Come out to run or walk and support a great cause, and don’t forget the celebration of the Dam Mill Hall of Fame. Race info can be found at

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