Close finish highlight of triathlon
In a race that took more than an hour to finish, it came down to the last second to decide who would be the team champion in the For the Health of it Triathlon 2002 in Craig Saturday.
The adult division consisted of a 1/3-mile swim, 15k bike ride and 5k run.
In the last 40 yards of the 5k run, Greg Neal of the B&K Distributing team passed Cindy McNicol for the win. Technically, the B&K team, with Shannon Samuelson swimming and Blake Abdella on the bike, was the winner of the corporate division and McNicol and her teammates, Eric Havrilla on the bike and Penny Murphy in the pool, won the non-corporate team division. But when McNicol and Neal were sprinting the last part of the run, they and the crowd were unaware of differences in divisions.
“She (McNicol) made me run a lot harder than I wanted to,” Neal said.
“I just tried to keep it within 30 yards of her until the finish line was in sight.”
The B&K team was pretty sure they were far from professionals in the triathlon.
“I was asked to do this on Wednesday,” Samuelson said.
“Let’s just say it has been a while since I swam competitively.”
“That’s how fit Greg is,” Abdella said. “He doesn’t even have to train to run well.”
“That’s right, I’ve been relying on power bars,” Neal added with a smirk.
The largest division in the competition was the adult team division. Coming in second behind Murphy, Havrilla and McNicol, was the team of Kallie Murphy, Jeff Foster and Jim McNicol. McNicol closed the gap on his wife, Cindy, but finished behind her by19 seconds, making his team’s total time of 1:03.38. Coming in third was the team of Cammie Hilleweart, Sam Aberle and Josh Aberle.
The iron men and women of the triathlon did all three events themselves. In the 13-19 girls division, Sheila McNicol finished in a time of 1:14.27 and in the boys division of the same age group, 13-year-old Travis Johnson finished in a time of 1:30.57.
As several of the race observers said, the next winners “were the reason the ambulance was at the event.”
Toughing it out in the 40-49 men’s division, Michael Tucci finished in 122:05 and Tim McMahon finished as the champion in the 44-49 division with a time of 113:41.
In the youth division, the lengths of each leg was a 250-meter swim, 6.6-mile bike race and a 1.5-mile run.
The youth girls team winner finished in style with all three participants running the last part of the run together. On that team, Kyra Workman swam, Jessica Mathews biked and Loren Roberts ran the course in a combined time of 1:06.49
Michael McNicol overcame a scraped-up shin in the bike ride to finish the youth boys division in 53:54.
Caitlin Conci and Markie Workman, two of the top 12-year-old swimmers on the Western Slope, expanded their athletic repertoire to biking and running as well for the triathlon. Conci pulled away in the run and finished in 57:56, with Workman not far behind in 1:05.53.
“The purpose of this event is for a fun family or business activity,” said coordinator Ed Stehlin. “The course is challenging enough for the serious competitor to have to work hard, but at the same time easy enough for a novice to be able to get here and do it.”
Stehlin said while the turnout was a little low, anybody that showed up and finished made impressive efforts.
Each participant took home more than just soreness because the local business donations were enough to award every participant a door prize from candles to a cooler.
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