Shoreline pair to compete in Hawaii
Win coveted spots in Ironman World Championship
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
Megan Pennington of Old Saybrook, left, and Kerry Cancroft, of Killingworth, work out at the Connecticut Cycle Center in Stony Creek.