Triathletes battle for state titles at Branbury


ROTH BERNSTEIN OF Burlington was the men’s winner on Sunday of the Vermont State Triathlon Championships, hosted by Vermont Sun Fitness at Branbury State Park. Photo courtesy of Vermont Sun

Julia Schofield of Charlotte won the women’s title. Photo courtesy of Vermont Sun

SALISBURY — Roth Bernstein of Burlington and Julia Schofield of Charlotte were the winners on Sunday of the Vermont State Triathlon Championships, hosted by Vermont Sun Fitness at Branbury State Park on Sunday.

Conditions for the race were almost perfect with sunny skies, light wind and a comfortable 75 degrees.

Bernstein, 25, claimed the men’s crown in 1:06.52, while Schofield, 37, earned the women’s title with a time of 1:11.18. They competed in a sprint triathlon that consisted of a 600-yard swim, a 14-mile bike ride, and a 3.1-mile run.

In the men’s event, Jeff Schumann of Salisbury, 62, was first to finish the swim in Lake Dunmore with a time of 8:26, 21 seconds ahead of the next man out, Damian Autissier of Belmont, Mass. Bernstein was seventh in 9:16.

Schumann held his lead till mile 11 of the bike ride, when David Connery, 51, of Shelburne passed him during what proved to be the day’s fastest bike spilt (35:21). Connery began the run with a 1:25 minute advantage over Bernstein. It wasn’t enough as Bernstein used the day’s fastest run (19:30) to catch him in the final mile. 

Carl Regenauer, 52, of Saratoga Springs, N.Y., and Kyle Hutchins, 35, of South Burlington had the fourth and fifth best runs to pass Schuman and claim third and fourth, respectively in 1:07.45 and 1:08.56. Schumann settled for fifth in 1:09:06.

Two other 60-plus men just missed the top five. Mark Mulder, 61, of Burlington gained a 20-second lead on Middlebury’s Steve Hare at the end of the bike ride. Mulder held the lead through the run to claim sixth in 1:11.08, while Hare finished eighth in 1:11.56. In all, five men over 50 and three men over 60 finished in the top eight, and Sean Sweeny of Leicester, 62, placed 16th in 1:17.31.

Schumann, the 60-64 age-group winner, explained his preparation strategy.

“I’ve been doing shorter and harder workouts, concentrating on my sprint speed and it’s really paying off,” said Schumann, who also won his 60-64 age group in an international sprint Triathlon in Montreal two weeks before. “Mark, Steve and I keep pushing each other to see just how fast we can still go. We aren’t quite as fast as we were in the ’90s, when Steve was winning this race in a hour flat, and Mark and I were around 1:04 working hard to catch up, but we’re really not that far off.”

In the women’s race, Schofield was 14th to finish the swim, but took the lead from Colchester’s Angie Defilippi late in the bike ride after posting the fastest ride (38:43). Schofield then pulled away from Defilippi by earning the second-best run time. 

Defiliippi’s third best run gave her second overall in 1:13.22. Waterbury’s Mariana Wingood, 43, claimed third in 1:14.51 after racing to the fastest women’s run of the day (20:24).

Three Middlebury women had strong showings. Liv Herdman won the 35-39 age group in 1:25:18. In the 30-34 age group, Christy Lynn and her friend Meg Howard came across the finish line hand-in-hand, but timers gave Lynn second place by less than a second and Howard third at 1:30.57.4 and 1:30.57.6, respectively. Bristol’s Wendie Puls won the 65-69 group in 1:33.43. Amy Buck Churchill of Brandon was fifth in the 40-44 group.

Vermont Sun also staged at the same time the Branbury Classic Triathlon, which started with a 1.5-mile paddle (canoe, Kayak or paddle board) instead of the swim. The bike and run course is the same as the swim event. 

The event drew just 10 entries this year, but organizers are optimistic it will draw more local individuals and teams in the future. Both the men’s and women’s winners this year came from New York.

“We brought back the paddle, bike, run event to encourage teams of friends and families in the area to do a fun, low-key event,” said race director Steve Hare.

Complete results, splits and information on upcoming events are available at vermontsun.com. The races benefit the Lake Dunmore Fern Lake Association, the Middlebury Union Middle School cross-country team, and The Vermont Sun Children’s Center.

The final date for the 2019 Vermont Sun Triathlon series is Sunday, Aug. 11, when both the Vermont Sprint Triathlon and the Lake Dunmore Olympic Triathlon (a 1,600-yard swim, 28-mile bike ride and 6.1-mile run) will be staged.

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