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On Sunday, April 22, nearly 600 amateur and professional athletes took the plunge into the unusually cold 56-degree water of the Pacific Ocean to compete in the inaugural Surf City Escape Triathlon. Philadelphia’s Jason West and Northern Virginia’s Sophie Chase took first place honors in the men and women’s pro division. Featuring a challenging 1-mile open water swim, a 24-mile, double-loop bike course and a 6.2-mile coastal run, this was a flat, fast scenic beachfront race.
“This was my first race in California and it was awesome,” said West. “I definitely experienced the California surf, I tumbled hard and had to stand up to regroup, causing me to lose time on the swim. I came out of the water in fourth place behind Ryan Fisher, Cameron Dye, and Eric Lagerstrom, so had to really work hard on the bike and run to make a comeback. The deep sand portion of the run at about the half way point was super hard. I was grateful to finally catch Eric then Cam in the last mile.”
Dye was first out of the water, with Fisher and Lagerstrom close behind. Dye held the lead, with Lagerstrom in second, until West pulled ahead in the last half mile to win by just eight seconds, making for an exciting finish. Huntington Beach native Matthew McElroy took fourth place with a time of 1:48:26. McElroy finished to a crowd of family and friends dubbed the “Mattheads” showing support for their hometown hero.
Stanford University runner turned professional triathlete Sophie Chase was first out of the water for the women’s professional division, but was caught about 10K into the bike by Sarah Haskins. Haskins held the lead on the bike while Chase and Canadian Olympian Paula Findlay battled. Chase finally caught Haskins on mile four of the run. The two stayed close until mile five when Chase pulled ahead and created a gap.
“The cold water and big surf made the swim very challenging,” said Chase. “Going into the bike portion against top pros including Heather Jackson, Sarah Haskins and Paula Findlay, I knew I had my work cut out for me. I stayed super focused and was finally able to catch Sarah at mile five, right after the challenging deep sand section of the run. I am so grateful for this great opportunity, it was an amazing experience.”
2018 Surf City Escape Triathlon
Huntington Beach, Calif. – April 22, 2018
1.5K swim, 40K bike, 10K run
1. Jason West (USA) 1:46:10
2. Cameron Dye (USA) 1:46:18
3. Eric Lagerstrom (USA) 1:46:21
4. Matthew McElroy (USA) 1:48:26
5. Ryan Fisher (USA) 1:49:36
1. Sophie Chase (USA) 2:00:09
2. Sarah Haskins (USA) 2:00:39
3. Erika Ackerlund (USA) 2:00:58
4. Paula Findlay (CAN) 2:01:22
5. Heather Jackson (USA) 2:03:47