Two triathlons mean two times the fun

Published May 23, 2007

Last weekend's combination of two major triathlons gave locals a choice of where to compete.

At Lake Buena Vista, area triathletes joined an international field of 2, 200 competing in the Ironman 70.3 Triathlon at Walt Disney World Resort. The 70.3 event was a half-Ironman distance of swim 1.2 miles, bike 56 miles and run 13.1 miles. At stake were qualifying slots for November's Ironman 70.3 Triathlon World Championships at Clearwater Beach and also slots for Ironman Triathlons in Panama City Beach, Lake Placid, N.Y., and Madison, Wis.

At Walt Disney World, Craig Alexander of Australia won in three hours, 50 minutes, 27 seconds. German Katja Schumaker was the women's winner in 4:28:28.

Some were attracted to the longer race, due to the slots allotted the top finishers. Among those top finishers who accepted slots for the various Ironman events were Andres Muneras, Tampa; Marni Rakes, New Port Richey; Kathy Fraiiling, Largo; Anders Heidemann, Largo; Annette Frisch, St. Petersburg; Bob Moorehead, St. Petersburg; Mark Parish, Clearwater; and Katie Knight-Perry, St. Petersburg.

"I'm ready to give up this lake swimming and get back to salt water, " said Bob Moorehead, who accepted a slot for Ironman Florida at Panama City Beach. "I want to put my wetsuit back on and race in the ocean, so I'm looking forward to Ironman Florida. I decided to take the slot."

Complete results are at www.flordiahalfironman.com.

Members of the St. Pete Mad Dogs Triathlon Club played host closer to home, where former ITU world champion Spencer Smith won the 23rd annual Madeira Beach Triathlon in 1:03:44 for the sprint distance swim .5 mile, bike 15 miles, run 3.1 miles. Originally from England, Smith, 34, now lives in Palm Harbor and only comes out for the enjoyment of racing with his new friends at local events.

Women's winner was Kailand Cosgrove, 17, of Tarpon Springs in 1:14:59. Cosgrove is becoming a familiar face on the podium and joins 18-year-old Graham Steele of Belleair among the most highly ranked USA Triathlon juniors in the country. Showing increasing form and speed, Steele placed second overall in 1:05:26.

Among the division winners at Madeira Beach were Alexander Peters, 13, Belleair, 1:47:00; Matt Attal, 18, Tampa, 1:11:27; Clyde Ball, 39, Tampa, 1:12:39; Don Ardell, 69, St. Petersburg, 1:31:03; Charles Lasley, 86, Belleair, 2:49:13; Clydesdale Reece Haettich, 39, Tampa, 1:17:28; novice Gary Glenn, 36, Trinity, 1:28:30; physically challenged division winner Leonard Lawrence, 43, Largo, 2:53; Leslie Beauchamp, 29, St. Petersburg, 1:28:50; Christina Noordstar, 31, Tierra Verde, 1:18:30 (fastest female 15-mile bike split of the day in 39:02); Tracy Parker, 37, Odessa, 1:17:53; Female Masters Champion Laurie Blume, 42, Pinellas Park, 1:20:29; Kim Clifford, 29, Tampa, 1:21:12; Carrie Gamble, 48, Tampa, 1:25:26; Karen Alexeev, 55, Gulfport, 1:30:43; Sandy Guenzel, 64, Seminole, 1:56:53; Barb Towey, 65, Treasure Island, 1:56:20; Jackie Yost, 79, Treasure Island, 2:26:10; and lady Clydesdale division winner Anne Von Spiegelfeld, 46, Tampa, 1:31:16.

More results are available at www.madbeachtriathlon.com.

DUNEDIN TRIATHLON: The fourth annual Dunedin Sprint Triathlon is June 3 at Honeymoon Island State Park in Dunedin. Race distances are swim .25 mile, bike 12 miles, run 3.1 miles. Packet pickup and race registration is June 2 at Family Fitness Gym at Alt. 19 and Curlew Road. Proceeds benefit the Dunedin Rotary Club. For more info log on to www.dunedintriathlon.com.

TRILEWIS ADVENTURE RACES: To join in offroad adventure fun runs or to volunteer on the course, check out USA Triathlon coach Lewis Bennett's TriLewis Adventure Races on June 2 at Fort Desoto Park.

"We like to participate in these events because they are fun and get all kinds of people out there in their trail shoes and mountain bikes, " said Tierra Verde triathlete and mountain bike racer Laurie Laurino. "Coach Lewis welcomes racers of all ages and skill levels because he likes to encourage everybody. You can't believe how user-friendly the adventure races are."

For more information on coaching clinics, group workouts and the upcoming races, check out www.trilewis.com.

MUDDY BUDDY: John Sherpf of Dunedin was one of the lucky riders who made the top 10 out of 800 teams at the May 12 Muddy Buddy series at Walt Disney World's Wide World of Sports. Sherpf's team won the beast division and he promises to be back in the next event. Some riders will begin with a smaller events and progress on to the bigger national events, like Muddy Buddy. Many of these successful offroad events consist of orienteering, hiking, paddling, mountain biking, rock climbing and trail running.

To compete, go to www.muddybuddy.com.

Times correspondent Jessica Mundie can be reached at sptimescycling@yahoo.com