Race Previews

2021 Chisago Preview...



15th CHISAGO LAKES HALF & SPRINT PREVIEW - When researching Sunday's race we noted that several of our state's fastest female triathletes will be making their long course debut, so we decided to make that the central focus of our preview.

In 2014, Rookie of the Year runner-up KELLY TROM, who went on to win Chisago in 2015 and record two more podium finishes after that, and goes into this year's race as one of the favorites, made her 70.3 debut at HITS Waconia, where she placed 2nd behind our state's all-time winningest female triathlete, CATHY YNDESTAD. Kelly's time was remarkable: 4:48:09. 

Can any of our long distance rookies match that on Sunday? It is a lot to ask, but it's possible. Breaking 4:50 rarely happens on the first try, and cracking 5-hours is a more reasonable goal. Will all of the women highlighted in this post slip under the magic 300-minute mark? We hope so....

In alpha order, here are the women who will be losing their long distance virginity next weekend:

CAMI ECKHOFF, 35, Detroit Lakes - One of the two strongest candidates for 2021 Rookie of the Year, Cami made the last-minute decision to bypass Heart of the Lakes and register for Chisago. She obviously loves challenges. Her swim and run splits at Clearwater Olympic were impressive. She'll need a strong bike split to crack 5-hours.

TAYLOR LUNDQUIST, 21, Maple Grove - The 2018 Junior of the Year is proven on sprint courses, and she has decided to jump over Olympic distance and go straight to 70.3. Her bike and run speed will serve her well. If she gets a nice pull from a 1:30/100 pack of swimmers, she could break five.


ELAINE NELSON, 42, Duluth - With superlative Olympic credentials and 21 career multisport wins we are optimistic about her chances next Sunday. If she finished on the podium, we wouldn't be surprised.

ANNA RAINER. 27 Plymouth - Our state's Most Improved recipient in 2020, we are confident that she can crack 5-hours.

Another athlete we will be watching closely is KATIE DEREGNIER. An Ironman veteran whose 70.3 personal best is a 5:08, Katie is on fire this season. In fact, she will likely receive a Most Improved nomination and spot on Team Minnesota at season's end. We expect her to blow her PR away, perhaps even throwing down a time in the mid-4:40s, which could land her on the podium. 

Now for some random comments:

The men's 40-44 category will be super competitive, featuring Wisconsin's PATRICK ALLAIRE, the 2020 Square Lake winner, DAN ARLANDSON, a two-time Top 5er at Chisago, and new master LUKE ALDRICH from Iowa.

TIMOTHY BONTRAGER is our pick to win the men's Sprint title on Sunday. He's coming off a Course Record win at Buzz Ryan, and has won three of the four triathlons he's done this year.

The father / daughter team of MIKE and BELLA BUENTING will be podium favorites for their respective genders in the Sprint.

TIM BROWN, 62, has won his AG in every race he's done in the last two years. That won't change on Sunday. (He is racing inthe Sprint.)

Two-time Ironman Wisconsin winner (!), JAN GUENTHER, now 62, owns two AG records at Chisago half and should have an easy time recording her third on Sunday.

CARYN HERRICK. With her HUGE win at HOLT last weekend, she clearly demonstrate that she has gone to the next level. Her PR at Chisago is 4:51. She could go sub-4:45 next weekend. A podium spot is certainly possible.

PAIGE SCHULZ. The 2009 Rookie of the Year rocked a 3rd here in 2019, popping a 4:42:17. She's doing the Sprint this year. A podium spot is definitely a possibility.

CHERYL ZITUR, 57. Most, if not all, of her 16 wins in the last seven seasons have been on short courses. She could collect number 17 on Sunday.

Can you still get in? Maybe. visit the race's website to find out: LINK