Race Previews

A Letter From Uncle Randy...

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SQUARE LAKE PREVIEW - This year marks the 18 annual Square Lake Triathlon. This was FrontRunner’s first multisport event and continues to be our flagship multisport event.

Back in 1999, there were very few multisport events. Throughout the entire summer there were probably no more that 8 – 10. Turtleman , Timberman, Manitou Sprint, Heart of the Lakes and Brewhouse are a few that existed back then.

The Turtleman Triathlon was always mid August and the last triathlon of the season. If you were going to compete at the Ironman Championships in Hawaii, you still had the few months to train and prepare.

Mo and Suzanne Mouw were two local White Bear Lake athletes who competed at Ironman Hawaii and wanted one more opportunity to compete before the Minnesota summer was over. They approached me and asked if I would consider putting on a late season triathlon. They used the Square Lake area for training and suggested Square Lake Park as the venue for the event. We weren’t new to putting on events but we had never organized a multisport event.....

Big Impact Weekend....

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PREVIEWS - Next weekend is arguably the most impactful two days on the 2017 multisport calendar. Two local races --Blaine and Square Lake--happen on Saturday, September 9, then Ironman Wisconsin and 70.3 Worlds in Chattanooga, Tennessee, take place on Sunday. How Minnesotans perform in these events will have a UGE effect on this year's Minnesota Multisport Awards nominations, and placement on Team MInnesota.

Let's start with Blaine.

The MMA Committee will have their eyes on, among others, JOSH MORK, CHRIS TATTON and TAYLOR LUNDQUIST. A win could land Mork a spot on Team MInnesota, and maybe a Most Improved nomination. A win, or a masters record, could propel Tatton to a Master of the Year nomination.

As for Lundquist, 17, who appears to be a shoo-in for a Junior of the Year nomination, an overall podium finish and a Junior CR, could make her the frontrunner for the award.

Moving now to Ironman Wisconsin. We predict that honorary MInnesotan DANI FISCHER will win the women's title, though that will not impact the MMAs. It will, however, make us very, very happy.

We adore Dani.

Some of the athletes we will be closely watching at IMOO are NATHAN ANSBAUGH, SHEENA DAUER and CHERYL ZITUR. Ansbaugh's position on Team MInnesota could be affected, as will his position among those who, like himself, will probably receive a Most Improved nomination. A great effort may be trophy-worthy....

Blaine Brings the Fun....

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BLAINE TRIATHLON - It's hard to believe that this fine event will celebrate its sixth anniversary  this Saturday (September 9). It seems like it was introduced only yesterday. 

As we've done with several previews this season, we are going to share some history and make some predictions.

TOP 5 Performances: Men (Note: Times from 2014 are not included. The swim needed to be abbreviated that year.)

1. CHRIS TATTON - 1:09:10 (2016)

2. BRETT LOVAAS - 1:09:15 (2013)

3. CHRIS TATTON - 1:11:08 (2015)

4. ANDY ZABEL - 1:12:38 (2016)

5. JEFF GREBNER - 1:12:46 (2013)

 

Top 5 Performances - Women

 

1. HEATHER LENDWAY - 1:16:30 (2013)

2. CHRISTINA ROBERTS - 1:16:69 (2015)

3. MARNIE WALTH, ND- 1:20:07 (2016) ...

Doobie's Race....

doobies_thing.pngED. Last weekend's races will be covered on Tuesday and Wednesday.

HOPKINS ROYAL TRIATHLON - This tri has so many unique and groovy things about it that we encourage you to visit the event's WEBSITE to learn all about them. Unfortunately, one thing you'll learn is that this year's race, like its first three editions, is sold old.

Enroll early for 2018, okay?

Also, the HRT was been nominated for "Triathletes Choice Race of the Year" in each season since its inception in 2014. It won that award in 2015.

This year's race will be staged, as always, as beautiful Shady Oak Park on Saturday, September 2. Even if you can't race, this is a great event for spectators, and every race could use extra volunteers, right? (FYI - The HRT does not have a volunteer shortage.)

As we do with many other races, we are going to share some event history and make some predictions.

HISTORY - Top 3 Sprint Times:

Men: 1. BRETT LOVAAS - 1:04:57 (2016), 2. ERIC HENDRICKSON - 1:05:57 (2016), 3. PATRICK PARISH - 1:06:16 (2015)

Women: 1. SUZIE FOX - 1:11:02 (2015), 2. SUZIE FOX - 1:11:16 (2016), 3. ANDREA MYERS - 1:13:49 (2016)

Age Group Records  ...

41.5 is a Very Cool Distance...

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Photo - 2016 Women's Podium (L-R) - Lisa Wacek, Christel Kippenhan, Angela Engel.

 

SUPERIOR MAN 41.5 PREVIEW - The way the 41.5, which is now four-years-old, breaks down is this: .5 mile swim - 35.4 mile bike - 5.6 mile run. Cool distances, huh?

As with yesterday's SM Half IM preview, we are going to share some 41.5 history and make some predictions:

 

- Top 3 Men:

1. PETERS SOMERS - 2:23:23 (2016)

2. KRIS NISULA, ONT - 2:24:54 (2016)

3. MITCHELL CLAYTON - 2:26:33 (2016)

 

- Top 3 Women:

1. DIANE HANKEE - 2:31:52 (2015)

2. LISA LENDWAY - 2:33:40 (2015)

3. JESSICA ROSSING - 2:40:35 (2015)...

More on Page 2....

Maple Grove Sprint & Lakes Country Previews...

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MAPLE GROVE SPRINT - We are very impressed with the way JENNIFER FITZHARRIS-FUNK (photo) is racing this year. Sure, she has been racing well for the last several seasons, but she seems to have  gone to another level in 2017. The tattoed 42-year-old Minneapolis resident's current resume features 2nd place efforts at Minneapolis and Chisago Sprints, and a 6th (4th amateur) at YWCA Women's Tri.

Here at MGS, JFF has three top 5 finishes, her best being a 2nd in 2014.

Is this the year she wins? It could be. We see her in the Top 2 with three-time champ CHERYL ZITUR.

It needs to be noted that Cheryl isn't totally healthy right now, plus her luck this season has been awful, affecting two ofher three starts this season. She flatted at Buffalo Sprint and crashed at Walker.

So, the door is wide open for a new champ. The one most ready to step through that door, in our opinion, is JFF. Still, we are not ready to predict the upset. Zitur is sort of the Dave Scott of Minnesota's women's multi scene. Never count her out.

This said, we're anxious to see how this year's sprint race turns out. FYI - We're picking LAURA SWARTZ to claim the bronze on Saturday.

As for the men, we predict that 2013 MGS winner DAVID PHILLIPS, who posted his seventh career win two weeks ago at Lake Marion, and brawny GREG DUMMER will take the Top 2 places. Based on his 2017 resume to date, Dummer is our pick to win.

 

LAKES COUNTRY TRIATHLON - WADE CRUSER is enrolled, thus he is our pick to repeat, threepeat actually....

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