Triathlon brothers prevail; Coffey vs. Coffey in season finale

SALISBURY — The Coffey brothers, Chris of Monkton and Cory of Vergennes, have been competing in Vermont Sun triathlons for more than 10 years. Chris has been the overall champion multiple times while Cory has one title. They have never done what they did this past Sunday at Branbury State Park in Salisbury.
The Coffeys claimed the top two spots in the sprint-distance Vermont Sun Triathlon, which consisted of a 600-yard swim, 14-mile bike and 3.1-mile run. Younger brother Chis, 39, won in 1:04:21, while older brother Cory, 41, finished just 1:27 behind in 1:05:49. Jacob Hannah (pictured, left), 34, of Lincoln claimed third in 1:08:37.
Chris Coffey was in fifth place after the swim in 8:56 with Cory Coffey in ninth at 9:36. The two powerful bikers quickly moved to the front. Cory caught and passed Chris at mile 6 with his 33:58 best ride of the day. Chris had the second-best ride with a 36:04. Cory held a 1:15 lead as the two made the transition from bike to run. Chris was 15 seconds quicker in the transition.
Chris then had the fastest run of the day (18:05) as he caught and passed his older brother.
“That was a lot of fun, we’ve been doing these races for years but never really gone head to head until today. I can’t stay with him on the bike but, I know if I stay close I can get him on the run,” Chris Coffey exclaimed.
“This is the closest I’ve I come the beating Chris,” Cory Coffey commented. “That would be nice but, the competition and camaraderie is still the best thing.”
The sprint-distance Vermont Sun Triathlon was held simultaneous with the Olympic-distance Lake Dunmore Triathlon. The longer race consisted of a 0.9-mile swim, 28.5-mile bike and a 6.2-mile run. The two races combined drew a near-record 330 entrants, making it the largest triathlon event in the state this year. The Vermont Sun Triathlon season ended its three race series dates with nearly 700 total entrants over the course of the summer. The other two events were held in June and July.
Matti Peoples, just 20 years old, of Aptos, Calif., won the woman’s sprint in 1:18:27. Her mother, Susan, also of Aptos won the 50-54 year old age group (1:25:21). As a child Susan summered at Lake Dunmore with her family. Many members of her family still come to the lake every summer. Her brother, Sean, won the men’s 60-64 group in 1:17:07. This was the 20th straight year the family has enter the events with 16 members competing this season.
Two Middlebury women claimed second place in their respective age groups: Erin Benjamin in women’s 30-34 division (1:30:33) and Liv Herdman, 35-39, (1:32:20).
Bristol residents Andrea Halnon, won the 65-69 group (1:52:37) and Wendie Puls (pictured, right) took second in the 60-64 group (1:35:27).
Brendon Rillahan of South Glens Falls, N.Y., won the longer Lake Dunmore Triathlon. He completed the race in 2:22:15, nearly eight minutes ahead of runner-up Chris Cover of Richmond (2:30:05).
Julia Schofield of Charlotte was the women’s Olympic-distance champion in 2:36:41. She barely held off Rachel Waller of Burnt Hills, N.Y., who almost caught her on the run, and finished just 22 seconds back in 2:37:03.
Middlebury’s Steve Hare won the 60-64 age group by 15 minutes in 2:41:15, and he was the first Addison County finisher at that distance. Hare directs the series that he founded 33 years ago in 1986.
“My wife and partner asked me how much longer are we going to do this,” Hare said. “I really didn’t have an answer, I never have considered stopping. These events make the commitment to having fun with fitness so rewarding. Seeing a first-time athlete cross the finish line with a huge smile, having proved he or she can do it, makes it so positive, so rewarding.”
For complete results and split times go to vermontsun.com.
The series is supported by many local people and businesses including Frog Hollow Bikes, the Addison Independent, Woodchuck Hard Cider, National Bank of Middlebury, Middlebury Inn, JP Carrara, and Graph X. Race proceeds benefit local youth sports teams and the Lakes Alive program for Lake Dunmore.
The triathlons will return in late June next year. The Vermont Sun Half Marathon and 5K and 10K runs will be held Sunday, Sept. 23, starting at Branbury State Park. For additional information and to sign up for the September races call Vermont Sun (388-6888) or visit vermontsun.com.

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