Shore­line pair to com­pete in Hawaii

Win cov­eted spots in Iron­man World Cham­pi­onship

New Haven Register (New Haven, CT) - - LOCAL NEWS - By Lisa Reis­man

SHORE­LINE — There seemed to be no way through.

A lit­tle more than two months ago, Meg Pen­ning­ton and Kerry Can­croft found them­selves rid­ing into a stiff head­wind. Hail rained down. Cross­winds were blow­ing their bikes around the road. Heavy rain pounded.

The Shore­line res­i­dents were nav­i­gat­ing these con­di­tions on whip­pet-thin tires. On top of an Adiron­dack moun­tain in the Alpine vil­lage of Lake Placid. In 42de­gree weather. And there were still roughly 100 miles to go. And then a marathon to run. They’d al­ready com­pleted a 2.4-mile swim.

That Old Say­brook’s Pen­ning­ton and Can­croft, of Killing­worth, will com­pete to­day in the Iron­man World Cham­pi­onship in Kona, Hawaii — ar­guably the world’s most phys­i­cally de­mand­ing sin­gle-day sport­ing event — is only part of the story here.

The real story is how these two work­ing moth­ers — Pen­ning­ton, a youth triathlon coach and Level 1 USAT cer­ti­fied coach, and Can­croft, an el­e­men­tary school teacher in the Bran­ford school sys­tem — were among the 4 per­cent of elite en­durance ath­letes world­wide to win a cov­eted spot at Kona, as the race is known.

It be­gins with the odd calm that de­scended on Pen­ning­ton as she mounted her bike.

“I ac­tu­ally thought to my­self, this is go­ing to be OK,” she said on a re­cent af­ter­noon at Stony Creek’s Con­necti­cut Cy­cle Cen­ter, a fa­cil­ity for ath­letes seek­ing year-round cy­cling and fit­ness train­ing. “Kerry and I had trained in this. We’d done so many long rides, 100-mile rides, in rain, in heat, in ev­ery el­e­ment.”

That will­ing­ness to sub­ject them­selves to tough con­di­tions, and thrive in them, is why their coach, the Cy­cle Cen­ter’s Ed Vescovi, refers to the two as “mud­ders.”

“That goes back to rides in early April,” he said. “It was bit­ing cold, and they got out

Peter Hviz­dak / Hearst Con­necti­cut Me­dia

Me­gan Pen­ning­ton of Old Say­brook, left, and Kerry Can­croft, of Killing­worth, work out at the Con­necti­cut Cy­cle Cen­ter in Stony Creek.

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