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Posted: April 27, 2009  : Add to Mixx!

Multisport: Duathletes Heat up Richmond, Virginia

1,200 athletes competed in the 2009 USA Triathlon Duathlon National Championship

RICHMOND, Va. (April 26, 2009) - Battling through temperatures that reached the low 90s, close to 1,200 duathletes ran and biked their way through the streets of downtown Richmond, Va., at the USA Triathlon Duathlon National Championship on Sunday, April 26.

The Championship event was part of the second day of the USAT National Duathlon Festival that featured off-road races on Saturday and closed Sunday with on-road races for youth, juniors and adults.

"I finished. That's always a good thing," said Greg Tuck, 47, of Mechanicsville, Va. "It was a very nice course. I really enjoyed it."

Hundreds of spectators cheered on the competitors along the course, which wove through Richmond and the scenic parks and bridges near the James River. The Festival near the transition area provided a great venue for family and friends to enjoy food, live music and fun [and plenty of water] as they waited for their loved ones to cross the finish line.

Twenty-six athletes earned national titles on the 10k run, 38k bike, 5k run event, with Nicholas Sterghos, 22, of West Point, N.Y., and Suzanne Huelster, 35, of Riverton, N.J., finishing with the overall best times of the day. Sterghos won the men's 20-24 age group by rounding the course in 1:49:02, while Huelster took the women's 35-39 age group in 2:06:08, just edging Crystal Anthony, 29, of Beverly, Mass., who finished in 2:06:16. Anthony won the women's 25-29 age group.

"I went to school here at the University of Richmond, so it was kind of a homecoming for me and my family. I hadn't been here in a long time," said men's 30-34 age group winner Eneas Freyre, 33, Norwalk, Conn. "The bike course was nice; it was fast, which I like. And I recognized the roads, so I had no problems. The run course was a little challenging with some of the corners. It was a great venue. The people are really friendly. It's nice to come down here and visit."

Providing inspiration to the spectators and other competitors were four athletes competing in the physically challenged division. Patricia Collins, 40, of Alexandria, Va., was the top female finisher in the category, with David Kyle, 37, of Athens, Ala., taking the men's title.

Aside from the individual national titles, USAT also recognized masters and grandmasters winners for both men and women. Grandmasters titles went to Greg Pelican, 50, of Bethel, Conn., and Ellen Hart, 51, of Denver, Colo., while Jeff Miller, 42, of Lewistown, Pa., and Kristine Kuss, 41, of Polly Drummond, Del., were the masters champions.

"This was so fun. Especially for someone whose weak link is the swim. This was awesome. The bike course was so fun, going over the bridges. You never got bored," said Hart, who had only done one duathlon before today. "It's really different from triathlon in how you unroll the ball of yarn, your energy level to get through to the end. Knowing that the run is still last is a great feeling, when you pull on your running shoes for the last time. I will do this again.

"At three miles of the first run, I switched to another gear. Then I worked really hard on the bike and put the hammer down as best as I could on the last 5k. It worked out really well."

The age group athletes competing in the USAT Duathlon National Championship were seeking national titles, but also spots on Team USA and the chance to compete at the ITU Duathlon World Championship in Concord, N.C., in September. The top-12 in each five-year age group will compete for the United States at the event.

USA Triathlon Duathlon National Championship
10k run, 38k bike, 5k run
Sunday, April 26, 2009

Female Physically Challenged: Patricia Collins, 40, Alexandria, Va. 3:11:50
Male Physically Challenged: David Kyle, 37, Athens, Ala., 2:42:36
M18-19: Alex Hopkins, 19, Blacksburg, Va., 2:01:06
M20-24: Nicholas Sterghos, 22, West Point, N.Y., 1:49:02
F20-24: Randall Wintermantel, 22, West Point, N.Y., 2:12:28
M25-29: Daniel Moss, 28, Simpsonville, S.C., 1:52:19
F25-29: Crystal Anthony, 29, Beverly, Mass., 2:06:16
M30-34: Eneas Freyre, 33, Norwalk, Conn., 1:50:22
F30-34: Amy Farrell, 32, Saranac Lake, N.Y., 2:13:00
M35-39: Todd Wiley, 39, Pipersville, Pa., 1:52:46
F35-39: Suzanne Huelster, 35, Riverton, N.J., 2:06:08
M40-44: Jeff Miller, 42, Lewiston, Pa., 1:54:27
F40-44: Kristine Kuss, 41, Polly Drummond, Del., 2:10:34
M45-49: Chris Giordanelli, 45, Simpsonville, S.C., 1:54:57
F45-49: Kristin Villopoto, 49, Chapel Hill, N.C., 2:11:32
M50-54: Greg Pelican, 50, Bethel, Conn., 2:00:52
F50-54: Ellen Hart, 51, Denver, Colo., 2:08:26
M55-59: Fred Galata, 58, Omaha, Neb., 2:07:15
F55-59: Cheryl Hart, 55, Louisville, Ky., 2:09:29
M60-64: Steve Ruckert, 60, Woodbine, Md., 2:07:08
F60-64: Anne Viviani, 60, Arlington, Va., 2:51:28
M65-69: Tony Marshall, 65, Chula Vista, Calif., 2:15:39
F65-69: Ann Erickson, 67, The Woodlands, Texas, 2:35:33
M70-74: James Girand, 72, Palo Alto, Calif., 2:37:38
F70-74: Sharon Roggenbuck, 71, Hillsborough, N.C., 3:17:57
M80-84: Edwin Bixenstine, 83, Kent, Ohio, 3:07:14

Full results for all Duathlon Festival races.

Find out more about the event.

Here's what other athletes had to say about the day's events:

The course was tough; the heat was tough. But I think we rallied our club. We made a big push to get people down here. I think we had at least 50 folks down here for the race. It's a pretty awesome day. It was a local for us. Only two hour drive, so that was nice.
--Joe Coyne, 31, Washington, DC [DC Triathlon Club]

I liked it better this year than last year. I liked the run with the waves. I loved going off at 7:30. It's great (to win age group). I passed the guy I had to beat with about two and a half miles left on the run. I knew I probably a stronger runner. The city is great. I love it. It's pretty close to a second home. It's a beautiful city. -
-Steve Ruckert, 60, Woodbine, Md.

It was a good experience, a little harder with the heat than I thought it would be. By the time I finished the bike and started the run, it wasn't bad. It was set up well. The organizers did a fantastic job. I'll definitely do it again.
--Jeff Luke, Richmond, Va.

It was tough. This was my first duathlon. I'm glad I started early. I'm very glad to have done it and completed it. I'm glad it's over. I did it!
--Dawn Eberhart, Richmond, Va.

I really liked the course a lot. It was challenging. It wasn't dangerous. It was clean. You can't control the weather. The volunteers were great. Everyone has been super. I had one of the worst races ever, but I still have a smile on my face. It's a really neat city. Everyone's been really cool.
--Johnny King-Marino, 48, Doylestown, Pa.

It was very challenging and hot, but a great event. I've done two duathlons before, but they were shorter. And this was my first Nationals. I love the challenge and being out here with all the other athletes. It was great.
--Lenora Mariner, 54, Midlothian, Va.

About USA Triathlon
USA Triathlon is proud to serve as the national governing body for triathlon - the fastest growing sport in the U.S. - as well as duathlon, aquathlon and winter triathlon in the United States. USAT sanctions 2,500 races and connects with more than 115,000 members each year, making it the largest multisport organization in the world. In addition to its work with athletes, coaches, and race directors on the grassroots level, USAT provides leadership and support to elite athletes competing at international events, including World Championships, Pan American Games, and the Olympic Games.


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