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Ridgefield Playhouse Director Takes On Triathlon

RIDGEFIELD, Conn. – Many Ridgefield residents know Allison Stockel as the executive director of the Ridgefield Playhouse . On Sunday, she will transform her talents into the athletic arena when she competes in the KIC It Triathlon in Stamford.

Stockel has competed in triathlons throughout Fairfield County since 2008. The Stamford event is her favorite, in large part to a challenging bike course that begins by Cummings Beach, rolls into North Stamford and returns to the center of town.

“The bike course is amazing,’’ Stockel said. “I’m pretty strong on the bike, and I enjoy going up the hills that most people hate. There’s one hill on Westover Street that’s pretty hard, but I know that hill now and I’m able to shoot up that pretty well. I like that you get to come back to downtown Stamford.”

Stockel plans to complete two legs of the event, the 1.5 kilometer swim and the 40-k (24.8 mile) bike ride. She has been limited in her running for past 18 months due to a lingering foot injury. This year, triathlon officials introduced a new division for contestants, Aquabike, for athletes who want to complete just the first two legs of the event. She will forego the 10k (6.2 mile) run.

“I was doing a training run for the New York City Marathon, and about mile 15 of an 18-mile run I just couldn’t run anymore,’’ Stockel said. “Doctors said if I didn’t get my feet re-constructed, my feet will collapse. I had one foot done, but I’m holding off the other one. It can be really painful when I run.”

Stockel enjoys frequent competition when she’s healthy. Before the foot surgery, she competed in seven triathlons in 2010 and eight road races. She began running six years ago to help shed weight, and her first triathlon was in Ridgefield in 2007.

“Finishing a triathlon is just an unbelievable experience,’’ Stockel said. “It’s not the same feeling when you finish a road race. It’s completely different. When you finish a triathlon, you feel like you’ve really achieved something special.”

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