Race Previews

2021 Graniteman Clearwater Preview...



GRANITEMAN CLEARWATER PREVIEW - The 12th edition of the event's Sprint race, that is, since it moved to its Clearwater venue, and its younger (6th) Olympic-distance companion is happening on Saturday, and once again, it will be exciting and competitive. The list we perused  had 299 names, though it did not designate whether the athlete will be sprinting or Olympic-ing. So, we'll be guessing.

Time for predictions and comments.

On paper, the clear favorites in the Olympic race are JOSH BLANKENHEIM and KORTNEY HAAG. Blank has 12 career multisport wins and will be making his Clearwater debut on Saturday. What impresses us most about Josh is that he seeks out the most competitive fields, thus his win total is a bit deceiving. He's been Duluth's top male triathlete since the retirement of BRIAN BICH in 2017.

Kortney on the other hand owns a win and a 2nd at Clearwater, and had also won at Big Lake, doing so in record time. A victory for Kort would be the 23rd of her triathlon career...

In the Sprint, we see LUKE HARNED, 68, and THOMAS ROHMAN, 74, successfully defending their 2020 AG titles, and perhaps even lowering their respective course records. A great battle for the women's 55-59 win between three-time Master of the Year nominee CHRISTEL KIPPENHAN and 2020 Grand Master of the Year LISA HINES will be fun to watch. Because Kippenhan outraced Hines at Buffalo Sprint, our money is  on her to win her AG on Saturday.

The AG record most in jeopardy is in the women's 65-69 division. We predict that MEGAN WEBSTER, 66, who destroyed her AG's record last weekend at Lake Minnetonka, will do the same at Clearwater.


Backtracking, we expect super 50-plussers KEVIN O'CONNOR, 50, and DAVID HOLDEN, 52, to both dip under their division's record in the Olympic. Which will win the battle? Don't know, but we're anxious to watch this battle unfold. Interestingly, one or both of these fifty-genarians could make the overall men's podium.

Other athletes we are anxious to watch include CAMI ECKHOFF, who had a breakout performance at Buffalo Sprint (3rd!),  2020 Most Improved winner ANNA RAINER, and under-the-radar talent / Weimaraner lover VANESSA NAGEL (top photo), who could podium on Saturday, most likely in the Olympic raceAccording to our reseach, Eckhoff may be eligible for Rookie of the Year consideration after the season.

Next, we expect to see CARYN HERRICK on the women's overall podium in whichever  event she chooses. She could collect a silver behind Haag in the Olympic, or pick up the overall women's victory in the Sprint. We're anxious to find out.


Unregistered? You can still get in. Race day sign-up is available. Check the race's website for more information:  LINK