Triathletes set a lightning pace in season finale

SALISBURY — In a double Olympic and Sprint Vermont Sun Triathlon event on Aug. 11 at Lake Dunmore, Jason Frank of Burlington missed breaking the sprint triathlon course record (set in 2006 by Darby Thomas) by just seven seconds, winning in 59:11.
Frank became just the second athlete to twice finish a Vermont Sun Sprint Triathlon in less than one hour, joining Steve Hare of Middlebury, who did it in 1995 and 1996. Both of Frank’s times came during this year. Ellie Thompson of Enfield, N.H., was the women’s champion, winning the 600-yard swim, 14-mile bike, and 3.1-mile run in 1:12:14.
Frank, 31, said he intends to own the mark someday.
“I’m getting closer to the record. Today was a good day. I’ll keep trying till I get it,” Frank said.
Frank’s closest competition came from Brenden Lang of Piscataway, N.J., who was nearly 10 minutes behind in 1:09:20. Lang, a first-time competitor, has close relatives who live both on Lake Dunmore and in Middlebury.
Curt Wemette of Ripton had a tremendous race, placing fourth overall in 1:15:15. Wemette came from way back in the swim with the sixth-best bike ride (39:41) and seventh-best run (22:12). Karen Newman of Old Greenwich, Conn., was the second woman overall in 1:15:38.
Other area top-three age-group finishers included Ann-Marie Vannucci of Vergennes, who was second in the women’s 40-44 group (1:30:41); Wendy Puls of Bristol, second among 55-59 women; and Raymond Tatro of Brandon, second among  55-59 men (1:43:18).
At the longer Olympic distance — 1,600-yard swim from Branbury State Park followed by a 28-mile bike ride and a 6.2-mile run — 47-year-old David Connery of Shelburne won his first Vermont Sun Triathlon Series race. Connery held off John Dunbar of Saxtons River to win by just 27 seconds, 2:12:42 to 2:13:09.
The women’s race was won by the amazing 53-year-old from Montpelier, Dot Martin. Her time of 2:35:25 was 2:20 better than runner-up Susan Horstman of Havertown, Penn.
In the men’s race, Jeff Schuman of Salisbury led Don Kjelleren of Charlotte out of the water by five seconds; Hare was third 20 seconds later. Connery and Dunbar were ninth and eighth, respectively, trailing Schumann by 1:45 and 1:05.
Kjelleren used the day’s second best bike time (1:07:20) to take a big lead as he started the run. Connery’s ride was a little better and the days fastest (1:07:06), while Dunbar dropped back with his 1:09:03 bike, the third best.
Kjelleren couldn’t keep pace on the run, while Dunbar outran Connery 38:07 to 39:17 to get close, but could not catch Connery. Brian Lavoie of Concord, N.H., used the day’s fastest run (37:59) to finish just a minute behind Dunbar in third.
Vergennes’ Cory Coffey was only 17th after the swim, but posted the fourth fastest bike (1:09:13) and run (39:56) to move all the way up to fourth overall.
Three men in the 55-59 age group placed seventh, eighth and ninth overall. Hare couldn’t keep up with Schumann’s pace on the bike (1:13:44), but found his running legs to take second in the group with a 2:27:44 to Schumann’s third place 2:30:07. Burlington’s Mark Mulder won the group in 2:25:15. Mulder was 2:15 behind after the swim but got close to Schumann with a strong ride and then passed Schumann on the run.
Complete results and splits can be found at vermontsun.com by clicking on the Triathlon logo.
Members of the Middlebury Union High School girls’ soccer team supported the athletes at the bike and ran aid stations. Part of the race proceeds benefitted their team. Many local businesses support the triathlons, including the Addison Independent, Woodchuck Hard Cider, Ramunto’s Pizza, Middlebury Bagel & Deli, Hannaford Supermarket, Graph-X and the Middlebury Inn.
Vermont Sun Fitness will be holding The Vermont Sun Run on Sunday, Sept. 29, at Branbury State Park. The Sun Run will include 5- and 10-kilometer races and a half-marathon. Details are available at vermontsun.com.

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