Race Previews

Epic Head-to-Heads on Tap at Liberty Half...

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LIBERTY HALF IM XIV - We are very excited about this year's Liberty Half, in large part because 2016 Ms. Everything, HANNA GRINAKER, is returning to serious racing after an abbreviated 2017 season. Her aptitude at all tri distances is stratospheric. She's capable of rocking sub-2:10s--she has two actual 2:10s on her scorecard already!--in Olympic races, and 4:30s, perhaps high 4-:20s, at 70.3.

Of her eleven previous multisport races, three have been halves. Her first such effort was here at Liberty, where she finished 2nd in 4:47 despite having ridden long. Her second half produced a 4th place finish against a stellar cast of veteran long course elites. Her time was 4:41. Her other 70.3 was at Madison last year, where in ghastly weather, she placed 3rd in 4:46 behind former pro / Ironman Wisconsin record-setter DANI FISCHER, and Rochester's brilliant DANI VSETECKA, whose victory earned her the Performance of the Year award.

Can Hanna win Liberty's women's title on Saturday? Sure, but she'll have to outperform our state's all-time winningest female 70.3 racer: KORTNEY HAAG. Kort has won this race twice, and owns the women's CR, a brisk 4:35:45....

 

So will Haag win her 9th career half, and 21st career multisport victory on Saturday? Or will Grinaker win her first 70.3, and 5th W of her young career?

This battle will be epic.

FYI, we are picking SARA CARLSON to fill out the women's podium, though ERIN KLEGSTAD may have something to say about that. Weather permitting, both should dip into the 4:40s. Sara's current personal best at this distance is 4:51:06. Erin's is 4:51:38.

Another epic battle.

As epic as the Haag/Grinaker an Carlson / Klegstad battles promise to be, the men's head-to-head between 2017 Minnesota Triathlete of the Year SEAN COOLEY, and WADE CRUSER, should be equally exciting. Cooley's stats at this dstance are well-proven. Wade, on the other hand, still has much to prove. But his speed, aptitude and resolve are not to be questioned. Sean's gone 4:04 and has broken 4:10 three times. Wade's best is 4:20, which resulted in a 2nd place finish here in 2016. But those who know Cruser, believe he's got a sub-4:05 in him.

So, who will battle for the bronze? DAN ARLANDSON is a former Liberty champ with a 4:10 personal best. He is a good pick for 3rd. But so is 2017 Most Improved winner NATE ANSBAUGH, last year's Liberty runner-up.

Race day registration will be available. We hope to see you a Lake Rebecca next Saturday. RACE WEBSITE

 

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