Like many father-son pairs, Steven Dufon and his son, Nate, are quite competitive with each other.
Unlike many others, however, the Dufons have a tangible way of measuring their success against one another.
Steve began running triathlons a few years ago, and Nate, an accomplished swimmer at the young age of 16, followed suit a year or two later.
“I’ve been doing them for about five years,” said Steve, who explained that he was training for a marathon, but suffered a leg injury that kept him from running that race.
“During that time, I started swimming again,” Steve said. “I swam all through high school, so I said, ‘Geez, I’ll try a triathlon.’”
“Nate started swimming in seventh grade, so after my first or second year of doing triathlons, I just asked him, is this something you’d like to try, and he said, ‘Yes.’”
The pair ended up doing a few triathlons two years ago, then moved to Grand Haven from Minnesota and continued to run tri’s in Michigan last year.
This year, in the Bear Lake Triathlon on June 23, and for the first time, Nate managed to beat his old man.
“He swims basically year-round now, so he was out of the water about three minutes faster than me,” Steve said. “We were clos eon the bike, and he was a minute faster than me on the run.
“When I got out of the water, a friend of mine was there and said Nate was a few minutes ahead of me. I thought maybe I could nibble away on the bike and catch him on the run, but I never saw him.”
“I knew I was ahead of him,” Nate added. “I wasn’t really worried about him catching me. I knew he was too far behind after the swim.”
Nate swam for the Buccaneers’ varsity swim team this past school year, and swims during the offseason for the Shoreline Lightning.
“Swimming is definitely my favorite part,” he said.
Steve and Nate don’t get to train together often because of their diverse schedules.
“We’ll do some bike riding together, but he swims every night with the club, and I do my swimming at 5:30 in the morning,” Steve explained. “I also do my running in the morning, so we usually at least try to spend some time on the bike together.”
Nate said he’s eager to beat his dad again on Sunday when the two compete in the sprint triathlon event in Grand Haven.
“I think I’ll be able to hold him off,” Nate said. “He used to give me a hard time when he beat me. Now I get to give him a hard time.”
“I get to pass the alpha dog baton to him,” Steve added with a laugh. “But I get another chance this weekend to redeem myself. I’m hoping that the cold Lake Michigan water will slow him down a bit.”