Strong times reported in first Vermont Sun Triathlons of the summer

SALISBURY — Vermont Sun Fitness Centers staged their first two Triathlons of the season on Saturday, the sprint distance Vermont Sun Triathlon and the Olympic distance Lake Dunmore Triathlon. The events were held simultaneously at Branbury State Park on Lake Dunmore and on surrounding roads.
Jason Franks of Burlington, 33, won the sprint race in 59:44 seconds, breaking the one-hour mark for the third time in his career. That mark has only been broken 11 times in over 15,000 Lake Dunmore finishes and only Steve Hare, in 1995 and 1996, has done it more than once.
Franks was never challenged as he was first to complete the 600-yard swim in 7:21, had the day’s fastest 14-mile bike ride (33:01) and the second best run (18:20). Still. Frank fell short of his ultimate goal of breaking the course record of 59:04 set by Darby Thomas in 2006. The closest Franks has come was 2013, when he missed by just seven seconds.
“I know I can do it. I missed by 40 seconds this time. I felt good and conditions were pretty good today, but with a little tail wind or having someone else push me, I can get it,” said Franks, who wasn’t sure if he’d be back for either of the other two Vermont Sun sprints in July or August.
The top four men posted outstanding times. Clement Naullet, 33, of Essex  Junction took second in 1:02:33. Former race winners took third and fourth: Peter Dodds, 46, of Burlington was third in 1:02:54, and Corey Coffey, 39, of Vergennes claimed forth in 1:04:00. Coffey broke through with his first win last year after many second-place finishes. His 34:00 bike time was second best.
 Megan Boucher, 25, of St. Johnsbury dominated the women’s sprint race. She trailed Michelle Rosowsky, 49, by 21 seconds after the swim, but then posted the fastest women’s bike (38:27) and run (18:40) times. Rosowsky was second in 1:11:07, and 56-year-old Dot Martin of Montpelier claimed third in 1:15:48.
Wendy Schneider, 47, of Ripton used the women’s third-fastest bike (41:56) to take fifth overall. She had the seventh-best swim (10:49) and run (25:20). Lisa Calitri, 48, of Cornwall placed fifth in the women’s 45-48 age group in 2:30:15. Conner Burleigh, 27, of Brandon placed third in men’s 25-29 in 1:31:20.
In the Olympic-distance event, Jeff Jones, 26, from Illinois had the fastest bike and run times of the day to make up for his slow start in the 1,600-yard swim. He was 11th out of the water, seven minutes behind the leader Brian Keats, 37, of Winooski. Jones made up more than five minutes on the 28-mile bike ride with a 1:11:17 time and another three minutes on the 6.2-mile run (41:30) to win in 2:26:28 to Keats’ 2:27:33.
Two Middlebury Triathletes cracked the top five. Lizzy Reed, 23, was fourth among the women in 3:04:53, and Hare, 59,  was third after the swim and placed fifth in 2:34:51.
Steve Giles, 53, of Salisbury claimed third in men’s 50-54 in 3:03:51. Doug Robinson, 58, of Brandon won the 55-59 group in 2:57:30.
Overall, it was great day for racing with clear, sunny skies and temperatures that reached 80. The next event is the Sunday, July 17, Vermont Sun Triathlon. The sprint event has already seen strong registration, and race organizers are hopeful even more locals will come out to test their fitness. Those interested in registering or volunteering may go to vermontsun.com.

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