First triathlon a success
Event draws 600 competitors
Because he had raced a full-length triathlon the previous weekend, Simon Richardson figured it would be wise to race the sprint portion of the Virginia-Maryland Triathlon Series on June17 at St. Mary’s College of Maryland.
“I did the sprint because weather was humid and I wasn’t at my peak fitness level,” Richardson said, “so [I figured the] sprint was the best bet to reach the podium.” Good choice. The 54-year-old Patuxent River Naval Air Station contract engineer finished the triathlon in 1 hour 16 minutes 25 seconds to take seventh place overall and third in the men’s top masters. Scott McLallen of Alexandria, Va., won the division with a time of 1:14:13 and Bill Deaton of Ruckersville, Va., grabbed second in 1:15:02.
This year was the first that the college had hosted the event, which featured 600 athletes taking part in the international division, which consists of a 1 1/2-kilometer swim followed by a 24.5-mile bike race and concluding with a 5-kilometer run. The sprint division is half those distances.
The event is the 12th of 26 this season. The season started with the Smithfield Sprint in Smithfield, Va., and will conclude Oct. 14 with the Liberty (Va.) University Invitational. Charles County hosted the VMTS General Smallwood Invitational and Sprint May 20 and 21 in Indian Head.
“I had a super fast transition [following the swim],” said Richardson, who elected to ride in his wetsuit. “I took my time [during the bike phase] and paced myself up the hill because I know the course. I had a headwind on the back side and was able to go more than 20 [mph]. A quick change and then out on the run, and a mile out I caught up to a guy and kept pace with him. Then at the end I gave it everything I got because it’s all out. I’m very pleased.”
Michael Julian, a swim coach from Midlothian, Va., followed the same strategy as Richardson.
“I did the Jamestown race last weekend so doing the sprint and half the distance this weeks sounded good,” said Julian, who finished second overall in 1:11:17. “I was a bit worried about the jellyfish, but I’ve lubed up with Vaseline and I’m a former swimmer, so I was ready for the swim and the bike course was good. It was flat and pretty fast, so I just had to hold on for the run.”
“I got stung so many times that my arms were starting to go woozy,” said Michael Bouchard-Hadley, a rising sophomore at St. Charles High School who finished second in the male 16- to 19-year-old age group in 1:29:55, “but I pushed myself through it and got to the run. No biggie.”
Sunderland resident John Balazs, 49, who works in financial services, said “there were a lot of jellyfish in the water. The water was calm and warm, but getting out after and feeling my face burning, that was tough. But I gave it everything I had.”
Emma Gonzalez, a 33-year-old Washington, D.C., police officer who lives in White Plains and finished in 1:39:12, said the nettles weren’t terrible.
“The jellyfish was the hardest part because I’ve never swam in [salt water] before and they hurt, but I thought they would be more painful. It wasn’t too bad,” Gonzalez said.
Jeremy Beall of Crofton won the overall sprint division (1:08:23), while Stephen Eid of Ashburn, Va. took the overall international division (2:17:20).
In sprint results, California’s Matt McOmber (1:29:49) took first place in the Master Clydesdale division, Jeremy Reid of St. Leonard (1:19:26) took top honors in the 4044 age group and David Kung of Lexington Park (1:21:01) claimed the 4549 age group, just 1 minute 59 seconds ahead of runner-up Jim Foote of Waldorf.
“It was adventurous,” said Foote, a salesman for Central Wholesalers. “I got stung by jellyfish but the swim wasn’t too bad, there was no chop at all. I put my shoes down there [near the river] so I could run up to the [bike] transition and it was muggy so the run was hot.”
“I’m not a good biker, so that was challenging for me,” said Balazs, who finished in 1:32:20 in just his second triathlon. “There were some hills that people probably just jumped up that I struggled with but the run was nice and flat and shady.”
Cole Edge of Mechanicsville (1:53:47) was fifth in the 16-19 age group.
“That took a little too long because I run barefoot,” Bouchard-Hadley said of the uphill transition to the bike phase, though he wore tennis shoes on his run. “My feet are fine. They’re all calloused so if I lose a shoe, I’ll keep going. Toward the end, I just kept pushing myself and said, ‘I’m almost there, I’m almost there.’”
Roland Edge of Mechanicsville (1:34:47) placed third in the 20-24 age group and Charles Conrad of Waldorf (1:26:56) was fifth in the 40-44 division.
“It’s a great venue, nothing beats St. Mar y’s County,” said Huntingtown banker Doug Nahas, who was sixth in the 40-44 division, despite competing with two broken ribs. “The water was good, the bike was nice and flat and the run was good. It’s a really good course.”
Ryan Camasso of California (1:51:24, military males) and Jordan Price of Saint Inigoes (1:40:29, novice males) each placed fifth in their respective divisions.
In the international competition, Leonardtown’s Michael Kirby (2:37:24) claimed top spot in the 4044 age group, while John Kopicko of Ridge was runner-up in 2:38:52.
Shawn Kyle of Huntingtown won the disqualified athletes division (2:20:56) while Lusby’s Thomas Fisher (no time available) took fourth in the same category.
Other top-5 finishers included runner-ups Ron Morris of Lexington Park (50-54, 2:39:22) and Lexington Park’s Karl Ulmanis (aquabike, 1:55:10), fourth-place finishers Jean-Luc LeClerc of Lusby (20-24, 3:30:48), Lexington Park’s Robert Fritz (55-59, 2:52:58) and Welcome’s Brian Boyle (3034, 2:38:39). Lexington Park’s Keelen Grimm (2529, 2:50:39), Welcome’s Gabriel Murray (30-34, 2:39:20) and Raymond Hoffman (35-39, 2:37:37) each placed fifth.
The women more than held their own in the sprint division as Susan Essington of Hollywood (2:34:06) won the 65-69 age group, while Sandra Leitner of Solomons (1:06:02) took top honors in the aquabike category.
Cathy Friedel of Solomons (1:21:07, top female), Lisa Sullivan of Hollywood (1:37:02, military) and Tammy Cook of Owings (1:37:44, disqualified division) each finished second in their respective division.
Debra Spatz of St. Leonard (1:28:06) grabbed third place in the top masters.
In age group placements, Jennifer Long of California was second in the 55-59 class when she clocked 1:32:17.
“The water was full of jellyfish, so I have welts,” said Long, who has competed in more than 200 triathlons. “But the bike course was great. It was flat and there was a little bit of wind but it was good. The hardest for me is always the run. It’s awesome [to have the race here]. It’s fantastic, everyone will want to be at this race year after year.”
In age group results, Nancy Ahearn of Leonardtown was second in the 40-44 age group when she clocked 1:39:52. Meg Romero of La Plata (1:41:58) was fourth.
“The swim was the toughest. I got stung several times, but it’s not that bad, but I thought [my bike portion] was strong,” said Sharene Gordon, 41, a physical therapist from Huntingtown, who was 10th in the 40-44 age group in 1:55:10. “I think it’s a very nice course, especially for beginners. It’s flat and it’s challenging, but not too challenging. If you prepare it’s fine.”
Kristin Swift of St. Mary’s City (1:31:16, 4549) and Nadine Hughes of Lusby (2:13:41, 60-64) each added third-place finishes.
“It was awesome,” said Gonzalez, who placed sixth in the 30-34 age group in 1:39:12. “I trained for it and did well. The [bike course] was a little hilly; I thought it was completely flat but its a good race and I felt good.”
In international results, Hilary Grimm of Lexington Park won the 2529 age group in 2:45:02, while Waldorf’s Ann Graham was fifth (3:02:11).
Other top-5 finishers include runner-up Kirsten Coe of Lexington Park (35-39, 2:44:03) and thirdplace finishers Amy Pavis of Leonardtown (novice, 3:02:55) and Kathy Sharkey of Solomons (aquabike, 2:03:27).
Charles Conrad of Waldorf, pictured here preparing for the bike stage, was fifth in the men’s 40-44 age group at June 17’s Virginia-Maryland Triathlon Series event at St. Mary’s College of Maryland with a time of 1 hour 26 minutes 56 seconds.
La Plata’s Meg Romero was fourth in the sprint division’s women’s 40-44 age group at June 17’s Virginia-Maryland Triathlon Series event at St. Mary’s College of Maryland with a time of 1 hour 41 minutes 58 seconds.