The Powell Aquatic Center hosted its seventh annual triathlon race Saturday morning, featuring 42 athletes taking part under sunny skies and warm conditions, with very little wind.
Competitors from all over Wyoming and parts of Montana made the trip for the event, which represents the very first triathlon of the season for the state.
“We were so lucky to have the weather cooperate for just one day,” said race director Tanya Bonner.
This year’s race began by swimming 20 lengths of the PAC’s pool, totaling 500 yards, before transitioning to the bicycle stage, located by the Parks Department building.
From there, riders pedaled along East Seventh Street, went north on Road 8, west again on Lane 8 and turned north onto Elk Basin Highway before reaching the turnaround and making their way back — totaling 15.5 miles.
Upon returning back to the transition station, the bikes were abondoned and the final leg of the race began: a 5K run down West Seventh Street to Grand Street and back.
Showing a widespread appeal, competitors ranged in age from single digits to their 60s, with everyone appearing to enjoy themselves (as much as one can in a triathlon). Those who finished early congregated around the finish line, shouting encouragement to those that followed and creating a friendly yet competitive vibe.
“Being the very first triathlon of the season, we like to keep it relaxed and fun,” said Bonner, who, along with teammates Reanne Wolff and Rinda Eastman, finished first among the women’s teams with a time of 1:18.23. “People tell us constantly how they enjoy the PAC triathlon and plan to make it a regular event on their annual calendar. Whether you’re a veteran triathlete or a beginner, you’ll have a blast.”
Just about every section of Wyoming was represented by this year’s participants, as well as parts of Montana.
“Our numbers were slightly up from last year with 25 soloists and six teams,” Bonner said. “We attracted people from Gillette, Sheridan, Buffalo, Cody, Missoula, Laramie, Riverton and Billings.”
Buffalo’s Dusty Smith posted the fastest time of the event among the soloists, posting a blistering 1:08.48 to finish first in the men’s 31-35 division. Jen Reiter of Billings paced the women soloists with a time of 1:18.01, claiming the top spot in the women’s 41-45 category.
The lone men’s team of Tarren Blackmore, Tarje Grover and Riley McKeen posted the fastest time for the day overall, clocking in at 1:06.
In the women’s solo category, Sydney Horton finished first in the 20 and under division with a time of 1:54.50. Molly Zeller took the top spot in the 26-30 category, followed by Rachael Esh of Sheridan in second place and Lindsay Parish in third.
Buffalo’s Mae Smith was first in the 31-35 division, Bridget Williams took gold in 36-40 and Hariet Fleming was tops in the 46-50 division.
For the men, Mitch Svaty took gold in the 20 and under division, Riverton’s Sheldon Bang was first in 21-25 and Daniel Lande from Missoula claimed the top spot in the 36-40 division.
Billings was well-represented in the men’s category, with four competitors claiming top honors in their respective categories.
Joel Schweiger was tops in 41-45, Sean Phelps was first in 51-55 and Steve Henly won 56-60. Les Benner rounded out the men’s soloists with gold in the 66-70 division.
The co-ed team of Lauren Lejeune, Tom Shambow and Seth Horton took the top spot with a time of 1:28.38.
Women’s 20 and under
1. Sydney Horton 1:54.50
1. Molly Zeller 1:28, 2. Rachael Esh 1:29.30, 3. Lindsay Parish 1:33.32
1. Mae Smith 1:23
1. Bridget Williams 1:33.48, 2. Lindsay Kindelman Lande 1:36
1. Jen Reiter 1:18.01, 2. Sonja Brue 1.48:46
1. Harriet Fleming 1:31:40, 2. Tanya Conners 1:39.24
Men’s 20 and under
1. Mitch Svaty 1:16.08
1. Sheldon Bang 1:17.38, 2. Shawn Bang 2:14.26
1. Dusty Smith 1:08.48, 2. Kelob Lande 1:19.32
1. Daniel Lande 1:36
1. Joel Schweiger 1:24.40
1. Sean Phelps 1:10.21, 2. Byron Bennett 1:22, 3. Steve Unsworth 1:24, 4. Erik Olsen 1:39
1. Steve Henley 1:41
1. Les Benner 1:38
1. Tanya Bonner, Reanne Wolff, Rinda Eastman 1:18.23, 2. Christine Hull, Shelby Gilliatt, Tanya Bennett 1:30, 3. Karen Meador, Elainna Cary, Shelley Cary 2:30.56
1. Lauren Lejeune, Tom Shambow, Seth Horton 1:28.38, 2. Natalie Quillen, Seth Partenheimer, Toby Bonner 1:36
1. Tarren Blackmore, Tarje Grover, Riley McKeen 1:06