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Kemper And Cave Win 30th Escape From Alcatraz Triathlon

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Under fog-less, sunny skies, American Hunter Kemper and Great Britain’s Leanda Cave were the victors in the historically-rich Escape from Alcatraz triathlon in San Francisco this Sunday.

Written by: T.J. Murphy/Triathlete Magazine

This was Hunter Kemper's second win at Alcatraz.
This was Hunter Kemper's second win at Alcatraz.

Hunter Kemper, the 2005 Alcatraz champ, unleashed his trademark running ability to take the men’s race in a time of 1:58:21, two minutes in front of New Zealand great Bevan Docherty. Defending champion Andy Potts held off a sprinting Chris McCormack to hold onto third.

After the display of a sparking return to form for two-time Olympian Kemper, the 34-year-old Kemper beamed in the finish-line area. “You just can’t beat this race,” he said. “Look at where you swim,” he remarked, gesturing toward Alcatraz Island and the Golden Gate Bridge.  “It’s just absolutely cool. How many races do you start by first jumping off a boat?”

Kemper locked the race up by taking the lead right out of T-2.

“I was aggressive early in the run. Bevan was able to stay with me for a mile but then I broke away.”

The women’s race was also a two-person duel, with Cave taking the lead from American Jenna Shoemaker at the end of the first mile of the 8-mile run.

“I’ve never raced Jenna before. I’ve seen her name in the world cup races and all, but I knew that Alcatraz is a different beast,” Cave said. “The swim is very tough because you really don’t have a good sense of time and place in the Bay. And today I had a really good run. In the past I’ve walked some of the Sand Ladder. This year I ran the whole way up.” The Sand Ladder—400 steps rising out from Baker Beach—has become as infamous as the Alcatraz swim due to it’s difficulty and the fact it comes late in the race.

Some 1800 triathletes started the Escape from Alcatraz, the race celebrating it’s 30th year.

Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon
May 2, 2010 – San Francisco, Calif.
1.5-mile swim, 18-mile bike, 8-mile run

Top men:

  1. Hunter Kemper 1:58:21
  2. Bevan Docherty 2:00:24
  3. Andy Potts 2:02:02

Top women:

  1. Leanda Cave 2:14:34
  2. Jenna Shoemaker 2:14:47
  3. Mary Beth Ellis 2:17:27