Today, Sunday, June 11, nearly 2,000 amateur and professional athletes endured high winds and a modified course due to the cancellation of the swim, to compete in the 37th Annual Escape from Alcatraz triathlon. Americans Ben Kanute and Lauren Goss took first place honors in the pro divisions. To ensure the safety of the athletes, city and race officials ended up canceling the 1.5-mile swim portion of the triathlon because of unsafe water conditions created by high winds. The modified race course included the 18-mile bike ride and an eight-mile run through San Francisco. The race started similar to a time-trial bike start, with 30 seconds between each pro. Age-group racers were released in groups of six, at 10-second intervals.
Kanute had to hold off last year’s second place finisher Cameron Dye and fellow Rio-Olympian Greg Billington to secure his win. Dye was in the lead at the start until Kanute caught him halfway through the bike leg then held on to the lead to the finish. Billington made up some time as well to place second, just eight seconds behind Kanute.
“I felt great coming into today’s race,” said Kanute. “When I first heard the swim was cancelled I was disappointed but then I realized I was here to race and win, no matter what the course and all legs of this course are extremely challenging. The strong winds today made both the bike and run legs even more challenging. To race alongside some of the legends of the sport in this quality field was a huge honor, making this the biggest win of my career to date.”
In the women’s race, Goss beat out an all-star field to take the title. The runner-up spot went to Rio Olympian Katie Zaferes (USA), while the bronze position went to defending Ironman 70.3 world champion (and last year’s Alcatraz winner) Holly Lawrence (GBR).
“I was disappointed the swim was cancelled, so I knew I had to give it my all on the bike leg; it was the only way to win—and it worked,” said Goss. “I’m shocked, to win today is the biggest win of my career.”
2017 Escape From Alcatraz Triathlon
San Francisco, Calif. – June 11, 2017
18-mile bike, 8-mile run
1. Ben Kanute (USA) 1:30:09
2. Gregory Billington (USA) 1:31:17
3. Cameron Dye (USA) 1:31:58
4. Kevin Collington (USA) 1:33:06
5. Andy Potts (USA) 1:33:14
1. Lauren Goss (USA) 1:42:06
2. Katie Zaferes (USA) 1:43:10
3. Holly Lawrence (USA) 1:43:36
4. Barbra Riveros (CHI) 1:46:35
5. Paula Findlay (CAN) 1:48:06