Race Coverage

Another Great Morning is Spicer...


GREEN LAKE TRIATHLON - Minnesota is blessed to have so many great small town triathlons. Rural beauty. Rural charm. Laid back vibe.

Two such events happened last weekend. Saturday's Northwoods Triathlon was terrific. And so was Sunday's Green Lake Triathlon. Interestingly, both races celebrated their 18th anniversaries, meaning that 2003 was a a great year for upstart races in our state.

Northwoods had 215 finishers this year, Green Lake had 213, most of whom did the Sprint race, which was predictably dominated by a  pair of foreign (ND and IL) athletes that love to race on Minnesota soil. Fargo's AJ MANNING, fresh off qualifying for Worlds at both Sprint and Olympic distance, had popped a 56:38 here in 2020, which would have been a course record had the swim been full advertised length. This year he again led from start to finish over the .25 - 14 - 2.85 course, crossing is a blistering 54:32, which actually lowered the record by 3:14.

He wasn't the the only man to crack the one-hour mark, something that had only been accomplished six times prior. The other guy, also a foreigner who crosses our western border somewhat regularly during tri season, was KEVIN MITCHELL of South Dakota. The 51-year-old banked impressive splits throughout en  route to a 59:06, which obliterated the previous best by a 50-plus male here by 4:25.

Maple Grove's JOSH DOEBBERT rounded out the Top 3 with his 1:03:42.

North Aurora, Illinois' KARAH OSTERBERG, who is a total HOOT!, has a family vacation cottage on Leech Lake, allowing her to pop down to Spricer and fit in a triathlon. In 2018, she won the Sprint in 1:09:07, the 3rd fastest women's time in race history. She bettered that when she returned in 2020, posting a 1:07:32 in a 2nd place effort (remember the swim was weather-shortened last year). This time she basically...

matched that clocking (1:07:33) and won the race, finishing 1:59 ahead of runner-up MORGAN BELL, 18, who was named Minnesota's July Junior Athlete of the Month. Morgan's time was a Junior course record 1:09:32, shaving 46-seconds off the prior AG best. Morgan had to outsprint SARA LEIBHAM to secure her 2nd place. In the end, just two seconds separated those women.

Bell and Mitchell were not the only Green Lake Sprinters to lower AG records. Joining them were former three-time overall women's champ TERESA VAN HYFTE (55-59W - 1:10:38), LAURIE  PAYTON (60-64W - 1:17:47) and THOMAS ROHMAN (70-74M - 1:14:04). Thomas could well land his third Grand Master of the Year nomination at season's end.


A local athlete had never won the Green Lake Olympic Triathlon. Until this year, that is. Willmar's JAY HALLIDAY had to run down St. Cloud's MITCHELL ERGEN to secure his four-second win. Third placing STEVEN REGAN of Redwood Falls finished 1:19 behind Ergen.


In 2012, HANNAH BETTENDORF, 16, placed 2nd at Green Lake Olympic. This year, Hannah's sister MEGAN, 19, one-upped her by winning the Olympic race. A kick-ass nordic skier and occasional triathlete, Megan hadn't done an adult triathlon since 2017, when she placed 8th at Timberman Olympic. Her margin of victory last Sunday over runner-up LINDA BELLANGER, 53, was 3:48. Linda finished 35 seconds in from of bronze medalist NICOLE SLATTERY, 52.


One Olympic-distance AG record fell  courtesy of ice cream lover JEFF GILMER, 62 (photo), whose 2:01:41 was almost four minutes faster than the previous mark (2:05:25), which was set back in 2012.  

We would be remiss if we neglected to mention the race's oldest, and arguably coolest, finisher. We're talking about the ever-inspiring JUDY RYKKEN, 83, who is pictured at the top the page.