Pluimer, Leedahl earn Green Lake Triathlon titles
SPICER -- Long-needed rain poured down Sunday morning keeping athletes cool and soaking race fans at the third-annual Green Lake Sprint Triathlon. "I didn't mind the rain at all," said Kathy Lutz, a first timer. "It was fun." With little wind and...
SPICER -- Long-needed rain poured down Sunday morning keeping athletes cool and soaking race fans at the third-annual Green Lake Sprint Triathlon.
"I didn't mind the rain at all," said Kathy Lutz, a first timer. "It was fun."
With little wind and the mercury near 70 degrees the rain troubled only the cycle leg out to Diamond Lake. Extra caution was needed on the corners but no accidents were reported.
Two veteran triathletes, Mike Pluimer for men and Mary Leedahl for women, prevailed in a record turnout of 261 individual finishers, exclusive of the 21 three-person relays.
Pluimer, 28, of Prinsburg finished the quarter-mile swim, 14-mile bike and four-mile run in 1:07.54, more than two minutes under his seventh-place time of a year ago. The 2004 runner-up said he was just getting warmed up when he had to get off his bike.
"I think I red-lined the whole way," he said, referring to his heart monitor.
In the Ironman races, he rides 112 miles before the marathon leg and will be out on the course 12 hours. At Lake Placid in July, he finished in "the top 25 percent" by breaking the 12-hour barrier by three seconds.
More recently was 88th of 1,800 in a half-marathon. Pluimer also competed in the inaugural race, taking second.
Leedahl, 26, posted the fourth fastest time overall in the swim at 5:59 and finished the race in 1:17.17, 28th overall. The Indiana native, who recently moved to Madison, Wis., from Grand Forks, N.D., has relatives in the area and was competing here for the first time.
"I've done triathlons when it rained like this in the Northwest," said Leedahl, who also has lived on the West Coast.
Defending women's champion Tammy Marker, 35, of Waconia placed second, about two minutes back of Leedahl. Marker's course record of 1:12.56 remained undisturbed.
Mark Lavin, 28, of Sioux Falls, S.D., was only 21 seconds behind Pluimer. Bruce Schulk of Burnsville placed sixth for the second year in a row. His swim of 5:26 was the day's best.
Minnesota State, Moorhead, distance runner, Kyle Eckhoff, 20, of Willmar had the best time in the four-mile run (24:11) and also had one of the top three swims.
Third-place overall Nathan Budde, 29, of Hanover averaged 24.7 mph for a 34.01 lap time. Phil Cleary, who will be a senior at Willmar High School, had the third-fastest bike time (34.57), helping him to an impressive fifth-place overall after taking 38th last year.
Rain fell hard before the race, stopped for the swim leg, then picked up again and fell steadily through the two concluding legs. It was the area's first significant rainfall in four weeks, a span including many 90-degree days.
Race director Dave Baker said a full triathlon may be blended with the sprint event next year.
- The rain brought no complaints. Especially thankful was Nate Vanderbill, a Kandiyohi farmer living in Litchfield who was running his first triathlon. "It's was great," he said of both the rain and his first race. His wife Stephanie was competing in her seventh triathtlon this season.
- The Patrick Boros Spirit Award should not have been a difficult choice. Annie Young, 43, of Burnsville competed with the help of friend and coach Leslie Ernst. Young is blind and this was her second triathlon in as many weeks. Kathy Strand presented the award in memory of her husband, who died of heart failure during the swim leg of the inaugural race two years ago. Strand said Young's determination and expressed joy in taking part in a fitness event captured her late husband's appreciation of such competitions.
- Overall winner Pluimer said the Ironman competition he competed in at Lake Placid raised $103,000 for the Central Minnesota Christian School through sponsorships. He plans two Ironmans in 2007.
- Pickle Events experience no timing problems associated with the rain. Fortunately, the event switched to chip timing this year after two years using paper which would have been a mess in the rain especially with over 300 individuals involved.