Race Coverage

Spectator Engagement...


7th Hopkins Royal Triathlon Coverage - The finish line crowd at yesterday's Hopkins Royal Triathlon was larger and louder than ever. From the moment the first finisher--ERIC ROESNER, who would eventually place 3rd overall--came into view, until the last triathlete crossed the line, the cheering was non-stop. Every participant was treated like a Rockstar. It was something to behold....

The HRT is famous for being conscientiously produced and executed, featuring innovations not found in most races. As such, it is a perennial nominee for Race of the Year, and is a two-time recipient of that honor.  This year's event, thanks in good part to it's elevated levels of spectator engagement, was arguably its best yet. 


The "numeric" Time Trial swim start--athletes are numbered according to when they registered--made things interesting. Of the men who would comprise their gender's Top 10, only two wore numbers under 100. Thus Roesner, number 40, and KEVIN GREIMEL, number 45, were the first two athletes to receive rockstar finish line treatment. Only two athletes, decorated veteran BRETT LOVAAS (number 158), and lapsed triathlete KURT YOUNGDAHL (number123) would turn in faster times than Roesner. Greimel's final placement was 7th.

Lovaas' win, his third here, 2nd of the season and 35th of his tri-career, was predicted. His final time was 1:05:37. Youngdahl's runner-up performance, on the other hand, was a pleasant surprise. Prior to his 23rd last June at Lake Minnetonka, and his 3rd at Alexandria in July, he hadn't raced since his college days at Gustavus almost a decade ago. His HRT time was 1:08:22. If it is true that he had only raced twice prior to this season, Kurt would be eligible for a Rookie of the Year nomination. 


In what was the closest women's finish ever at HRT, only twelve seconds separated the Top two women on Saturday. A superior bike split by CATHERINE LEE, 47, ultimately gave her a  slight edge over former winner ANDREA MYERS, 45. In addition to her Hopkins win, Lee's 2021 scorecard features a 2nd at Buffalo Sprint and a 4th at Door Country Sprint. It's quite possible that both she and Myers will receive Master of the Year nominations after the season. For Andrea, the nomination would be her 5th for that honor.

Rounding out the women's Top 3 was BETTE ROWLEY, who crossed less than a minute behind Lee and Myers. Rowley's 2021 resume consists of two wins and a 7th to go with her impressive bronze medal effort at Hopkins.

Three Age Group records were rewritten, starting with Lovaas' (45-49M) and concluding with JUDY RYKKEN's 2:29:45, which lowered her own 80-84W mark by 6:50. In between was BETHANY COLLINS' 1:34:41, which took a chunky 9:19 bite out of the prior 65-69W record. For Collins, it was her 2nd consecutive AG win. She also topped her division at the inaugural 4WOMEN TRi on August 22.

Four hundred and forty-six athletes registered for this year's HRT, and 343 crossed the finish line. Those who were unable to attend missed out on a truly extraordinary experience.


Photos - Top by Bob Metoxen. P2 crowd photo by Mitchell Clayton. Cycling photo of 5th place woman CLEO FERRIS, a 51-year-old tri newbie (!), courtesy of Terrence Lee.