Two Hilliard residents helped raise $225,000 by competing in a charity triathlon in Las Vegas.

Two Hilliard residents helped raise $225,000 by competing in a charity triathlon in Las Vegas.

The inaugural Safelite Triathlon and Poker Run on April 17 attracted 150 participants to raise money for Ma'Afrika Tikkun, an organization assisting children and orphans in South Africa.

Finishing second among females in the triathlon was Hilliard's Jenny Kipker, who is a treasury analyst for Safelite's Columbus headquarters off Sawmill Road.

"My goal was to get out of the water without drowning," Kipker said. In her first triathlon, she did more than that: Kipker swam half-a-mile at Lake Mead, rode a bike 12.5 miles and ran a 5K in near-90-degree heat in under two hours (1:54:39.7).

"We didn't have a lot of time to train (less than six months)," Kipker said. "I was really reluctant about doing the whole thing, but my co-workers pressured me into it. I've always been a runner competitively, and I've biked a little bit here and there."

Kipker said the participants had to raise a certain amount of money for the charity in order to participate, and were responsible for their flights.

Her finish qualifies Kipker to participate in the London Tri-athlon Aug. 7-8, along with competitors from 31 other nations. The triathlon is sponsored by Safelite's parent company, Belron. At the end of the event, Safelite will present a check to Ma'Afrika Tikkun. Last year, the check was for $110,000.

Tom Kienle, a materials analyst for Safelite who lives in Hilliard, also participated in the Las Vegas event, although he didn't do the triathlon.

"I just ran the 5K, and I did fine," Kienle said. "I did 31 minutes, 54 seconds. A little over a 10-minute average, but I've never run one before, and I was real happy with that. The really big thing was raising money for our company's charity in Africa."

Kienle said he had vendors and friends and family sponsor him, and he raised $1,300.

He described the competition for charity as "a good team-building thing for our company" and "a top-notch event. I was very proud of everything our company did."

Kienle said there was another perk to the event.

"I'm here at the corporate office in Columbus, and I talk to people and e-mail people all over the country. Never met them before, but out there I got to meet a few of the people, which was very nice."