Sports

Hundreds hit roads, water for triathlons

WOMEN RUSH INTO Lake Dunmore at the start of the Olympic-distance triathlon held in Salisbury on Saturday morning. They swam around a mile before completing a 28-mile bike race followed by a 6.2-mile run. The women’s race winner completed the course in about two and a half hours. Vermont Sun also hosted a shorter sprint triathlon that day. Photo by Pat Hendrick Photography

SALISBURY — If the two triathlons held Saturday in and around Lake Dunmore are any indication, the summer racing season is back in a big way.

Race founder and director Steve Hare was pleased with the day, which saw nearly 250 triathletes from as far away as California and Florida taking part in the Vermont Sun-sponsored state championship races.

“This is the biggest and strongest June triathlon field we’ve had in our 36-year history,” Hare said. “The athletes and everyone involved with this event put in really great efforts today.”

The day’s events included the Lake Dunmore Triathlon, an Olympic-distance event consisting of a 1,600-yard swim, 28-mile bike, and 6.2-mile run. The Vermont Sun Triathlon was a Sprint-distance event consisting of a 600-yard swim, 14-mile bike, and 3.1-mile run.

The Lake Dunmore Triathlon featured a high-quality field; 24-year-old William McGovern of Stowe claimed the gold medal for the Olympic distance in a time of 2:15:05. The silver went to Milton’s Maxwell Curtis, 2:16:53; and Charlotte’s Sean Fleming got the bronze in 2:18:12.

McGovern let the field out of the water but was quickly challenge by Fleming and Curtis and two others on the bike. Running at a 5:28-per-mile pace, McGovern’s 33:50 10K run was the day’s best by three minutes and allowed him to pull away for the win.

For some perspective on the depth of the field, Roth Bernstein of Burlington won the state championship last year but was only fifth. Fleming has also won a Vermont Sun Triathlon in previous years. 2019 Lake Dunmore winner Kyle Flack, formerly of New Haven and now from Kentucky, was 15th.

In the woman’s Olympic-distance race, 29-year-old Betsy Eiclelberg of Mamaroneck, N.J., won the gold in 2:29:13. She trailed Lancaster, Pa.’s Martha Boben going into the run but had the best run of the day by more than 5 minutes to easily win. Angie DeFilippi of Colchester won the bronze metal.

Local finishers included Middlebury’s Liv Hurdman, 38, who was 17th, and Cornwall’s Tonya Baker, 49, who was 20th. Both women were fourth in their respective age groups.

Hare, 64, placed 17th in the Olympic race, even though he was only eight months removed from hip replacement surgery.

In the sprint championships Tim Russell, 32, of Sarasota Springs, N.Y., had the fastest splits in all three events. He was never challenged as he won in 1:00:26. Don Kjelleren, 56, of Williamstown, Mass., claimed the silver in 1:04:01 and Tim Downs of Norwich, 58, won the bronze in 1:05:57.

Although very happy with his state title, Russell said he was a bit disappointed at not being able to break the one-hour mark. Russell missed by less than half a minute this time; he has also just barely missed two other times while winning the race. In the race’s history only 12 men have ever manage to break an hour. Russell plans to return and try again to be lucky 13.

Charlotte’s Julia Schofield, 39, was the gold winner in the women’s sprint. Trailing by a minute after the swim she posted the day’s fastest women’s bike split and second best run to cruise to victory in 1:10:50. Runner up Jacqueline Boben of Lancaster, Pa., (the younger sister of the runner-up in the longer Lake Dunmore Triathlon) came in at 1:15:46 with Poultney’s Erica Ecktote taking the bronze in 1:19:08.

Race Conditions were almost perfect for fast times. The morning was mostly cloudy, warm but not hot. A stiff south wind helped push the bikers as they headed north on Route 7. Light rain showers held off until after the award ceremony.

In the Sprint, two Ripton women placed in the top 10. Alison Shelofsky, 57, won her age group and finished 9th overall (1:25:05); her daughter Kelsey Shelofsky used the third-best run to place 6th overall and win the 20-to-24 age group in 1:23:04. Middlebury‘s Lia Cook Yoder, just 15, placed 15th overall in 1:29:59. Sara Daley of Middlebury finished 2nd in the women’s 35-39 group.

Sixty-five-year-old Jeff Schumann was in third overall after the bike. On the run four men past him as he claimed 7th place overall.

Two Bristol men had strong finishes. Nick Pierce won the 40-44 group and was 17th overall in 1:18:42. Jonathan Rowe, 32, was 27th overall.

Complete results, detailed splits and future race information can be found at vermontsun.com.

The next Vermont Sun triathlon will be held on Sunday, July 18, along with the Branbury Classic Triathlon, a paddling event. The series concludes on August 15 with the third Vermont Sun triathlon and the second Lake Dunmore Triathlon.

Hare is optimistic that the successful summer of races will just keep rolling.

“We are already way ahead of our record field for July,” he said on Tuesday.

The races benefited Branbury State Park; Lake Dunmore and Fern Lake Association; Salisbury Fire Department, which provided support on the bike course; and the Middlebury Union Middle School cross county team, which staffed the course aid stations.

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