Race Coverage

Capping a Memorable Season...


FALL CLASSIC DUATHLON COVERAGE - Until mid-August it appeared that there would not be a 2020 tri/du season, which bummed-out the Minnesota Multisports Committee. Since 1999 they had been honoring our state's most successful atletes on an annual basis...

Then Graniteman Big Lake happened, and it was awesome. Then came equally awesome editions of Green Lake, Young Life, G-Man Clearwater, the Square Lake races and last Sunday's Fall Classic Duathlon.

Though a far cry from the 83-race seasons we enjoyed a decade-or-so ago, 2020 gave the MMH members enough data to determine honors, with appropriate modifications. Instead of insisting that athletes turn in three-or-more outstanding performances during the year to be eligible for consideration, for instance, only two great efforts are required this year.

We are also creating some new honors, like acknowledging Performances of the Year in not only the "Open" category, but in the Junior, Masters and Grand Masters groups, as well. This will allow us to honor athletes who only raced once in 2020. For instance, BELLA BUENTING, 17, and former pro / lapsed triathlete DAVID THOMPSON, 42, each raced once, thus they are not eligible for Junior of the Year or Master of the Year respectively. But their single efforts were so impressive that they will received serious consideration for POY honors in their age-range categories.

Back to the Fall Classic Du, i.e. Minnesota's multisport season finale. It was a small,let's say, "Intimate" event. But it was a goodie. Moreover, it had a huge impact on post-season honors.


It launched four athletes into the MMH discussion, people who were heretofore ineligible.


Let's start with PATRICK ALLAIRE, 42, of Marshfield, Wisconsin. Two weeks before Fall Classic, he won the Square Lake 70.3. On Sunday he won the Fall Classic Long Course Du, wherein the event's standard runs--3-miles to open, 2.5 miles to close--bracketed a two-loop bike course (26ish miles). His time was outstanding - 1:30:27-- and he managed to nip 2019 Team Minnesota member MICHAEL WEISSENBORN (photo L) by 23-seconds. Patrick did his damage on the bike then ran scared as Mike W. took 30-second bites out of him on each mile of the closing run. Exciting stuff.

Allaire will not be the only out-of-stater in the MMH discussions. Fargo, North Dakota's AJ MANNING, with one win, two 2nds and a 4th in Minnesota races, has also earned consideration.

Weissenborn, who raced impressively at Square Lake Sprint, where he placed 3rd behind the elite likes of David Thompson and JOSH MORK, did not plan to do the Du, but changed his mind in the days leading up to the event. We're glad he did, because doing so likely earned him a spot on 2020 Team MInnesota.

Then there was DIANE HANKEE, 42, who won the Green Lake Olympic-esque Tri on August 9. By racing and winning in runaway fashion at Fall Classic, which happens to be staged in her neighborhood, she has put herself smack-dab in the center of the Athlete of the Year and Master of the Year discussion, plus an obvious spot near the top of Team MInnesota. So you know, the victory was the 38th of Diane's multi career, and her time--1:14:40--landed her in 2nd place overall behind rising star DAVID KOPPEL.

The win was the first for David, and his peers know that there will be many more in his future. Unfortunately, the only 2020 honor he is eligible for is Open Performance of the Year, and the competition for that accolade is fierce.

Koppel would certainly have been discussed in other awards categories had he not been hit by a car at Big Lake, a race that many believe he would have won. But he got dinged, and his bike was totaled. So, David only has one official multisport finish this year, but it was a victory and his time--1:04:02--was the 2nd fastest in the double-digit history of the race.

Also excelling was obvious Grand Master of the Year nominee TIM BROWN, 62. He crushed the 60-69M record by 4:25 and placed 3rd overall. Grand Master POY? Maybe.

Also mentionable are ubitquitous racers and training pals TOM COUILLARD, 71, and LUKE HARNED, 67, both of whom collected their 4th AG win in as many starts in 2020. Picking up her 3rd AG win (in 4 starts) was MICHEL SANDERS, 66, a good buddy / traveling companion of the aforementioned studs.

T'was an odd season, but what took place was awesome. Sunday's dust has yet to fully settle, but we are already looking forward to the 2021 multi season. - RESULTS




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