Performance Hurdles...139...



There appears to be certain "Performance Hurdles" that ambitious amateur triathletes need to clear if they hope to eventually be ranked among the best in their state or region. In long distance racing, amatuer men need to crack 10-hours, hopefully by a lot, if they hope to someday be competitive with their elite peers at 140.6. For 70.3, they need to dip under 4:30 before they really know they are on the right track.

At Olympic distance, these guys are going in the right direction when they clear the 2:05 hurdle. After that, they can focus on cracking the 2-hour mark, which really thins the herd.

Now, let's talk about women's Performance Hurdles. At IM distance, a sub-11 is a major hurdle. A sub-5 opens the door to becoming a competitive female amateur at 70.3.

And at Olympic distance the magic number seems to be 139. That is, once a woman has broken the 2:20 mark, she has demonstrated competitive aptitude, and can work her way to 2:15, then 2:10, which appears to be in the national class strata.  Then a select few will dip under 2:10, which makes them competitive on the world stage. Minnesota's Olympic distance world class women include CATHY YNDESTAD (2:07 - PR), HEATHER LENDWAY (2:05:06 amateur PR), KORTNEY HAAG (2:09 personal best), and now GABY BUNTEN, whose 2:08 at a slightly short Minneapolis race translates, perhaps, to a sub-2:10....


A sub-139 on one's first Olympic effort is rare. Only a few Minnesota women have pulled that off. Who are we talking about?

- MICHELLE ANDRE'S' Olympic debut produced a 2:18:06 in 2008. 

- RUTH BRENNAN MORREY's debut - 2:14:35 in 2012.

- HANNA GRINAKER - 2:13:48 debut in 2016.

- HEATHER LENDWAY - 2:11:14 debut in 2013.

Yes, there may be one or two more athletes in this group, but our research didn't turn anything up.

Now, for some, the quest to crack 139 was a relatively long process, BUT once they did, their subsequent improvement was meteoric. LISA LENDWAY (photo) and GABY BUNTEN are great examples. Lisa did two "official" Olympic races in 2008, but was unable to crack 139 minutes. Then, after a five year absence from the sport, she returned with a vengeance, popping a 2:15:07 at the new Brewhouse, which was a legit 1.5-40-10K. Shortly thereafter she turned ina 2:12:54 at Nationals, earning her a silver medal in her AG. Cool, huh!

Now let's look a Gaby's Olympic rise. She finally cracked the 2:20 mark in 2013 at HITS-Naples in Florida. Since then, she has broken that mark by significant margins on SIXTEEN occasions. Her official PR is a 2:11, but as we noted earlier, her 2:08 at Minneapolis probably translated to a 2:10.

Who do we think will be the next Minnesota woman to crack 139? Then go on to establishing herself as one of our region's best? Based on her 2:20 at Maple Grove last season, plus knowing that she has mad love for the tri lifestyle, we believe that KRISTINA SWENSON is one to watch.



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