Race Coverage

Sometimes It Rains...

ashley-malzahn.gifPHOTO - Winnipeg's Ashley Malzahn, one of many wonderful Canadians whose annual tri calendars include the Liberty Triathlon. 

RACE COVERAGE - Yucky days happen. Sucks, but true.

Sometimes races fall on yucky days. That was certainly the case last Saturday at the 10th annual Liberty Triathlons. Relentless rain and wind that made the cool temps feel even colder and a transition area resembled the Okefenokee Swamp were what 343 eventual finishers had to contend with.

More than 500 athletes had signed up for the races--half and Olympic. Unsurprisingly, many stayed in bed and of the slightly more than 400 who showed up, approximately 70 decided not to endure the one hour delay.

Naturally, most course records remained intact. None were reset in the Olympic race, but two fell in the Half, starting with Matthew Payne's incredible 4:02:46, which not only lopped close to five minutes off his 2013 CR, it will be debated whether it, or Kevin O'Connor's 4:02:59 turned in at Muncie in 1997, deserve to stand as the Minnesota men's amateur Half IM record. Most 70.3 courses have suspect measurements. It's hard to accurately measure that much real estate.

In any case, Matt's effort was but another in a long list of course records he has set over the last few seasons. In 2014 already, he has crushed the amateur CRs at Oakdale, Buffalo Olympic and Liberty. We're anxious to see how he fares at Best of the...

US on June 22, Duathlon Nationals in July and Tri Nationals in August. Twice his name has been part of the USAT discussion for US AOY Honorable Mention status. This year he may bypass the HM stuff and win the AOY award.matt-bike.gif

Yes, he's that good.

The other Liberty Half course record was posted by Dave Lundberg (4:48:38), who nibbled a little more than a minute from Jeff Gilmer's 2013 50-54M best.

We were impressed with the performance turned in by 27-year-old Minneapolisian Eric Engel, who placed 3rd in 4:16:55. After a spot of research we learned that he is a tranplanted Wisconsinonian (Madison) and has some decent creds. He was 8th at Door County Half last year. We believe his 4:16 is a PR.

2013 Rookie of the Year Nicole Heininger, who is a super-nice young woman and former collegiate hockey player who surprisingly has all of her original teeth, held on for the women's half title. It didn't come easy and it hurt like hell. Her 4:58:38 was the only sub-5 for the women.

The Olympic event was won by David Holden, whose many career victories include an earlier win here (2012), and Gaby Bunten, for whom this was her first-ever victory. Her time was an Olympic distance PR - 2:18:35 and we are totally happy for her.

The husband/wife team of Scott and Andrea Myers grabbed 2nd place for their respective genders. Thirdsies went to fun-loving, bald beer salesman Mikey Ladendorf and Winnipegian Ashley Malzahn. Ashley (photo above L) has a big dog of indeterminate breed that is allowed on the furniture (We're okay with this!) and sometimes sleeps on his or her back, which looks kinda funny. Like most Canadians, she drinks beer. (We learned this stuff by looking at her FB page.)

Liberty always attracts a large contingent of super-nice athletes from Canada, especially from Winnipeg and Thunder Bay. This is cool. We hope they keep coming . RESULTS

YndeCam Photo - Matt Payne