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The seventh annual Auburn Triathlon enjoyed a record field of 750 athletes contesting four different race distances – the legendary World’s Toughest Half, the National Long Course Duathlon Championships, as well as Olympic- and sprint-distance events. The duathlon started with a 3k run, staggered to anticipate a finish even with the 1.2-mile swim leader. Duathletes and triathletes then converged to ride 56 miles and run 13.1 miles on what many agree is the most scenic and challenging course in the United States.
Spectacular performances were delivered, with course records being shattered. Justin Hurd of Ft. Collins, Colo. was crowned national long course duathlon champion after an exciting battle with Joe Thorne of Austin, Tesax. Hurd’s 4:19 was a new course record. Mari Chandler was the female national champion, with an impressive 4:58 for eighth overall.
Staffan Westerberg was the World’s Toughest Half winner in 4:42, breaking Steve Larsen’s 2008 record. Kat Baker of Australia shattered the women’s course record with a remarkable 5:07, good for ninth overall.
Former UC Davis athlete, and Wildflower Olympic course winner, Kyle Leto showed his Olympic potential with a stunning 2:04 in the Olympic-distance event, shattering the course record. Melissa Vandewater survived an arduous trip from Australia to win the ladies title, breaking Gina Kehr’s course record with a 2:20.
Also for the first time in triathlon history, a 6’4″ gorilla led the swimmers on a stand-up paddleboard! Event details and photos at Auburntriathlon.com.