Race Coverage

Participants Giving Back...



By Doobie Kurus

If the biggest issue the Hopkins Royal Tri had on race day this year was the lake water level being low forcing an impromptu rest stop on the swim course as sprint athletes walked through the channel before continuing on with their .4 mile swim, then I’ll take it! Everything else was frosting on the cake. Speaking of cake, 85 years young Judy “T-Rex” Rykken was presented with a cake, figurine, and flowers for a recognition of the roughly 200 multisport events she has done over the years. Judy was slated to compete in the tri, but was a late scratch, and decided to come volunteer instead.

People may have also noticed a lot of younger participants this year. People, like Josh Sell, have been making a concerted effort to recruit and prepare the next generation of triathletes. He brought out numerous members of his youth triathlon team..

(including some parents) this year. Others like last year’s #1, Unny Nambudiripad, started up a BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) triathlon club. Two of the group’s members, Sam Ero-Phillips and Mary Kosuth, participated, and another Harsha Moturi, helped volunteer in the transition area to learn more about triathlons. How cool is that?! Thank you!


Paul Pasko, who has not only done all 9 editions of the HoRT but was the person who first put the thought of a triathlon at Shady Oak Beach in my head many years ago. He was also given the coveted #1 race bib, as a thank you for all of the work he has put into the event, including designing the swim course and setting the buoys so that the course avoids weeds as much as possible.

At that first HoRT in 2014, yearly participants Jason Larson and Terri Jaksha toed the line of a multisport event for the first time ever. Jason now helps lead the MN Triathletes group, which includes his wife. Terri moved her way through the race distances to complete a full Ironman and is heading off to Kona in a few weeks.

Each year, the list just goes on and on about our participants giving back, pushing themselves, but most of all, just having fun doing 3 things we probably all did as kids (and LOVED IT!) …swimming, biking, and running.

Oh, almost forgot the results. In a very close finish, Ryan MacMaster (Fargo) edged out Brian Johnson (St. Paul) by 10 seconds in the Clydesdale category. Local Joel Swenson (Hopkins) came in 3rd place. In the Athena category, Rachel Daddio (EP) finished in 1st place, with Joy Schettle (Green Bay) and Jolene Johnson Armstrong (Mpls) in 2nd and 3rd place respectively. In the Masters Clydesdale category, it was Matt Venz (Burnsville), Jeffrey Mattson (Mtka), and then Andy Schwandt (Prior Lake.) In the Masters Athena category, it was Jess Bierling (West Des Moines), Michelle Young (Brooklyn Park), and then Allyn Silver (Corcoran.) The overall top 3 men were Brett Lovaas (Mtka) 1:08:44, Ryan Barrios (Chanhassen) 1:10:06, and then Bill Kelley (Wrenshall) 1:11:20. Note: Kevin Greimel was only 23 seconds behind Bill and Mitchell Clayton was only 14 seconds behind Kevin. The top female (and overall winner) was Heather Lendway (St. Paul) that turned in a 1:05:48 for a back-to-back winning performance. She was followed by Bette Rowley (Burnsville) 1:13:00, and Vanessa Nagel (Bloomington) 1:14:04.