By Charissa Hipp

Set amidst the breathtaking scenery and rich history of the Shenandoah Valley, the Luray Triathlon is now in its 14th year. The town of Luray, known for its charm, is less than a two-hour drive from Washington, DC, making the race popular among enlisted men and women who work or are stationed in the DC metro area. The military has its own awards category at the Luray Triathlon with the top three overall male and female military finishers receiving awards.

Military Camaraderie
Jaymie Brooks Dumproff will be competing in the Luray Triathlon for the very first time, though she is an experienced triathlete who has been on the podium multiple times. She has dedicated nine years of military service to the United States Air Force and Air National Guard which has taken her to Florida, Montana, Pennsylvania and West Virginia as well as a six-month military deployment to the United Arab Emirates.

“The military has impacted me by providing a sense of camaraderie, competing and practicing with fellow military triathletes through various organizations such as United State Military Endurance Sports (USMES) and Team Red White and Blue (Team RWB),” Jamie said.

She signed up for the Luray Triathlon because it was conveniently located close to her home in Lovettsville, Va., and it is a USA Triathlon (USAT) sanctioned race. Jamie, whose husband is an Army Infantry veteran, currently works in occupational health and safety for the federal government. She’s also pursuing her doctoral degree in Public Health.

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough
Juene Rader recently hiked Mt. Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa, and will be competing in the Luray Triathlon for the first time. She joined the DC Triathlon Club this year and has been preparing for the Diamond in the Rough Triathlon most of this year. “My trip to Tanzania and hiking Mr. Kilimanjaro threw my training plan off,” she said, “but I’m going to try to just finish and use the Luray to do a little better.”

Juene, who currently works with the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon and is an Air Defense Artillery Soldier, is a very new triathlete. She’s accustomed to the physical fitness demands of the Army but was never interested in fitness for recreation. “My current job is a desk job on a staff without the organized fitness,” she said. “Trying a tri was a creative way to stay in shape and meet great people.

An Ohio native who went to school and commissioned from Bowling Green State University, Juene learned about the Luray Triathlon from fellow members of the DC Triathlon Club. “I hear it is a beautiful course,” she said.

Juene Rader giving her grandmother (a veteran) a tour of the Pentagon.

Juene Rader out on the bike

Pushing the Limits
James Vika recently separated from active duty with the United States Navy as a Nuclear Surface Warfare Officer, supervising nuclear power plant operations on the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, based out of Norfolk, Va. He served for six years and was stationed in Norfolk, Va., Charleston, S.C., and San Diego, Calif.

This is James’ first triathlon ever but he’s no stranger to pushing himself physically. He had heart surgery in 2012 after doctors discovered a hole in his heart during a flight physical. Since then, he completed his service in the Navy and went on to run his first marathon in 2017.

“The military always pushes your team and individual limits. It’s often what defines your career,” James said. “Between working very long hours, completing seemingly impossible tasks and months spent away from home – the military always tests us. A triathlon is just another opportunity to see where my physical limits are and try to get past them.”

A current resident of Manassas, Va., who will be attending the University of Maryland this fall for his MBA, James is looking forward to spending time in Luray. “I’ve heard great things about how well run the event is and how beautiful Luray is,” he said. “This will be my first ever trip to the Shenandoah Mountains and we’ll be spending the weekend in the town. Hopefully I won’t be too sore and miss out on exploring the caves.”

Leading by Example
William “Bill” Brohard, Lieutenant Colonel, United States Air Force, has served in the National Guard for 30 years. He is currently assigned to the National Guard Bureau, which develops training programs and exercises, and prepares for homeland defense and disaster response. Bill has been deployed to domestic and international relief efforts, national security events and to the Middle East supporting the War on Terror. Later this summer, he will be the commander of the DC Air National Guard Logistics Readiness Squadron, just one of many ways he leads others.

On the weekends, Bill spends much of his time watching his two daughters compete in their respective sports around the country. His college-aged daughter, who is a swimmer at Wheaton College in Illinois, is competing in the Luray Triathlon with him. His younger daughter is a track and field sprinter, competing from New York to Florida and many places in between. When he’s not a spectator watching them compete, Bill and his wife Reneé lead an active life running, cycling and hiking.

“A couple years ago I thought a triathlon would be fun, and I was right,” Bill said.
“I appreciate the skill and endurance required to accomplish all three events in one race, and registered for my first half-Ironman this September. It keeps me active and scratches my competitive itch.”

Though this is Bill’s first time doing the Luray Triathlon it’s his third triathlon overall and he’s excited to return to Luray. “Reneé and I spent a few days hiking and biking in Luray last spring and loved the natural beauty, terrain and friendly residents,” he said. “This should prove to be a great place for a race! The timing is also right as a training race for my half-Ironman in September.

Bill acknowledges the military’s strong emphasis on fitness. “As an officer, I try to literally lead from the front. I challenge my airmen by offering to buy lunch for anyone who exceeds my annual fitness test score,” he said. “It’s a great way to both motivate the troops and keep in shape.” He also enjoys being able to participate in triathlons with his daughter. “I hope triathlons are something we can do together for many years to come; it’s great father-daughter time.” Bill’s even hopeful that he can get his other daughter on a bike so she can join them in the future.

Bill Brohard during his deployment to Afghanistan in 2013

Bill Brohard and his daughter at Fort Ritchie Triathlon in 2018

Racing for a Cause
For Darren Riley, military service is a family tradition. Both his parents served in the United States Army and both his grandparents served in the military as well. Darren has been in the Army for 15 years. A self-proclaimed “Army brat,” he was born in Virginia and lives there now, but has moved more than 15 times to different Army posts during his childhood and now as active duty Army.

This year is Darren’s second year competing in the Luray Triathlon. Last year he placed first in the military category and says he definitely has the “tri bug”. He admits that the work requirements, long hours and frequent travel or deployments can make it difficult to train consistently, but the Army encourages physical fitness and training, and he is able to stay in decent shape to enjoy the races.

Darren, a husband and father to three young children, is also looking forward to returning for his second Luray Triathlon. “I enjoyed the support and the amazing volunteers who made the race happen,” he said, “then I really enjoyed the festivities afterwards.”Darren has a goal this year that he’s very passionate about: to race 250 miles and raise $2500. He aims to spread awareness for and support several charities that provide aid to cover educational and hospital expenses for families of fallen or wounded service members and veterans. “I enjoy racing,” he said, “but want to race for a bigger cause – to raise funds to support these warrior families.”

Register: Luray International Triathlon
Register: Luray International Duathlon
Register: Luray International Aquabike
Register: Luray Sprint Triathlon
Register: Luray Sprint Duathlon
Register: Luray Sprint Aquabike

What Else To Do in Luray

We are certain that you will find Luray and surrounding Page Valley communities to be some of the most welcoming and beautiful places that you will ever visit!

Luray is home to the world famous Luray Caverns and the central entry point of the Shenandoah National Park and scenic Skyline Drive in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Just a few miles in any direction offers you a chance to enjoy the abundance of our natural resources and a range of activities including, camping, canoeing, cycling, fishing, golf, hiking, horseback riding, photography or simply marveling at the scenery!

Any season is a great time to visit; each is unique and beautiful. Be sure to visit downtown Luray and stop in at any of the number of excellent restaurants and boutique stores.

More information about the area: Luray-Page County Chamber of Commerce.