For access to all of our training, gear, and race coverage, plus exclusive training plans, FinisherPix photos, event discounts, and GPS apps, sign up for Outside+.
When Andy Potts stepped on the ferry leading to Alcatraz Island for the start of Escape from Alcatraz 2012, he felt the same nerves as many on the boat, with an added kick:
“I’m always nervous before every race, but this race always brings about its own special kind of nerves,” said Potts, “This race holds a lot of importance for me. It’s one of the biggest days of my year. I wanted to perform well.”
Those nerves may very well have been what fueled today’s victory, as Potts clinched his fifth Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon win with a time of 2:03:17.
Potts, one of triathlon’s strongest swimmers, was originally favored to lead from the beginning. However, he did not have the race handed to him on a silver platter. Dustin Mclarty was first to exit the water. Though Potts took the lead during the bike leg, Bevan Docherty of New Zealand was close on his tail exiting T2, giving Potts a run for his money. Docherty would eventually place third with a time of 2:04:32, behind second-place finisher Courtney Atkinson (2:03:53).
“I never expected a huge lead at any time,” said Potts, “Dustin is a great swimmer. Though I would have liked to be first out of the water, when I saw him ahead of me I knew I couldn’t let that get to me. I try to avoid making those mental mistakes and instead just focus on what I need to do.”
“When people find out I’m a triathlete, they always ask me two questions,” shared Potts after his victory, “The first is ‘Have you done the triathlon in Hawaii (Ironman World Championships in Kona)?’ The second is always ‘Have you done Escape from Alcatraz?’ These races are iconic in our sport, and I am beyond thrilled to have won today.”
In the women’s race, Leanda Cave of Great Britian echoed Potts’ sentiments:
“This is one of the best races in the world. I always try to be at Escape from Alcatraz.”
Cave’s race was similar to Potts’, exiting the water in fourth place behind women’s swim leader Lauren Brandon. Quickly, Cave made her way to the front of the pack during the bike leg. She went on to win the women’s professional race with a time of 2:18:17, her fourth Escape from Alcatraz victory.
“Last year I was second,” Cave said at the post-race press conference. “And this year I really wanted to have a good win year. I pulled hard after the last few months to pick up some fitness after my illness back in February.”
Second place finisher Annabel Luxford was in the top three for much of the race, finishing in 2:21:01. Jenna Parker, seventh out of the water, fought to an impressive third place finish with a time of 2:23:32.
Escape From Alcatraz
San Francisco, Calif. – June 10, 2012
1.5-mile swim, 18-mile bike, 8-mile run
1. Andy Potts (USA) 2:01:17
2. Courtney Atkinson (AUS) 2:03:53
3. Bevan Docherty (NZL) 2:04:32
4. Francesco Godoy (ESP) 2:08:03
5. Jon Bird (CAN) 2:08:18
1. Leanda Cave (GBR) 2:18:17
2. Annabel Luxford (AUS) 2:21:01
3. Jenna Parker (USA) 2:23:32
4. Emily Cocks (USA) 2:26:56
5. Becky Lavelle (USA) 2:27:09