Locals excel in Vermont Sun Triathlon

SALISBURY — Eric Florio of East Williston, N.Y., broke the one-hour barrier to win Sunday’s Vermont Sun Sprint Triathlon at Branbury State Park, while Monkton’s Chris Coffey and Brandon’s Corey Robinson finished second and third, respectively, in the men’s competition.
Florio became just the ninth out of about 17,000 entrants since 1986 to break an hour when he finished in 59:45, just 41 seconds off the course record set in 2006.
Coffey, 38, a veteran triathlete and past winner, finished second in an event that consisted of a 600-yard swim, 14-mile bike ride and 3.1-mile run; Coffey’s time was 1:02:31. Robinson, 28, whose results have been consistently improving, claimed third in 1:02:59.
Isabelle Dinkins of South Glens Falls, N.Y., was first overall for the women, besting Heidi Underwood from Kattskill Bay, N.Y., 1:12:30 to 1:14:23.
The best local women’s finisher was Sandra Chicoine of Leicester, who was second in the women’s 45-49 age group in 1:32:26. Bristol’s Wendie Puls, who won the 60-64 age group, was just two places behind her in 1:33:40. Bristol’s Andrea Halnon was third in the 60-64 group at 1:51:10. Middlebury’s Eva Durbin won the 25-29 group in 1:39:51.
Conditions were perfect for triathlon racing: Partly sunny skies and temperatures that began in the low 70s rose to a comfortable 80 by the finish.
Robinson cut over six minutes off his time from last season to move within 3:55 of the record. “I’ve been working out really hard and it’s paying off. I think I can continue to improve and win this race … maybe this year,” said Robinson.
Florio led the race right from the start, taking a huge lead in the swim, exiting Lake Dunmore 1:20 ahead of Robinson, with Coffey 10 more seconds back. Florio also had the day’s fastest bike to extend his lead slightly over Robinson. Coffey outran Robinson by 1:31 to finish second.
After Robinson, the best three local finishers all came from the men’s 60-64 group. Salisbury resident, Jeff Schumann, won the age group in 1:09:42. Middlebury’s Steve Hare was second in the group at 1:10:16. The two finished 10th and 12th overall. The third-place finisher in the group was Brandon’s Doug Robinson in 1:21:51.
Bristol’s Joe Shine took third in the 35-39 group, while Brandon’s Ethan Nelson claimed 5th in the 30-34 group.
Experienced triathlete Bill Niquette of Williston, 44, competing with his 14-year-old son Seph. Bill first brought Seph to the event last year. On Sunday, the son beat the dad, 1:22:32 to 1:23:39.
The final two triathlons in the summer series will be held on Sunday, Aug. 13, when a Vermont Sun Triathlon and the longer Olympic-distance Lake Dunmore Triathlon will both be staged at Branbury. Vermont Sun’s final 2017 event will be a simultaneous half marathon and 10- and 5-kilometer runs, also at Bradbury, on Sunday, Sept. 24. Complete details are at vermontsun.com or 388-6888.

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