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Nautica New York City Triathlon
07/26/2009 - By NYC

Nautica New York City Triathlon

Just like anything else in New York, the 2009 New York City Triathlon began on its own schedule. Rain and thunderstorms in Riverside Park delayed the start by nearly 25 minutes, giving the athletes a chance to compose themselves and calm jittery nerves.

The Pro triathletes dove from the barge at 6:14 a.m. to wild cheers and the quick current in the Hudson River that is a trademark of the New York City Triathlon.
On the men’s side, Andy Potts emerged from the swim first with a time of 12:14, with three-time NYC Triathlon winner Greg Bennett and Matt Reed following quickly behind. After racing through the transition, the earlier rain left a slow bike track that demanded caution from even the slickest Pros. The bike proved to be the specialty of Pennsylvania native Andrew Yoder, who stormed from fifth after the swim to take a more than 300-meter lead on second-place Bennett. After a grueling trek up through the Bronx and back into Manhattan and Riverside Park on the bike, Yoder took a nearly two-minute lead into the run stage.
However, the run appeared to be the Achilles heel for Yoder. Bennett took off swiftly out of the transition and more than made up for lost time, catching and passing the newcomer, and continuing to cruise to the finish line all by himself to claim his fourth consecutive New York City Triathlon title in a time of 1:45:50. Potts finished less than a minute later, followed closely by Reed, Yoder and Stuart Hayes to round out the men’s top five.
On the women’s side, dramatics were also on the menu. Becky Lavelle, Mary Beth Ellis and Rebeccah Wassner jumped out to a quick lead in the swim, competing neck and neck coming out of the transition area and up the West Side Highway. Ellis battled an early under-inflated tire and Wassner faded slightly toward the end of the bike run, allowing Lavelle to enter the final stage with a 33-second lead on second-place Wassner.
But just like Bennett, Wassner sped past Lavelle, cruising to a sub-35 minute run and finishing nearly 90 seconds ahead of Lavelle to claim the women’s title, in a time of 1:58:25. Lavelle clocked in almost two minutes later, followed by Margie Shapiro, Samantha Warriner and Ellis.
Alongside the Pros, over 3400 amateurs and elite amateurs ran the race, some for the first time, though many returned for another shot to break their personal record. Taking off in 32 separate waves over the course of almost two hours, they proved their endurance in one of New York City's most demanding races. Omar Nour took home the top Age Group prize, with a time of 1:59:07. Brian Duffy and Linda Robb each captured an Elite Age Group award, completing their races in 1:55:33 and 2:08:56, respectively.
More than 70 ParaTriathletes competed in the Accenture ParaTriathlon National Championships. The New York City Triathlon hosts the event, which became the largest ParaTri event in history. Once again, Aaron Scheidies cruised to yet another victory, courageously completing the race in 2:02:15.
The IAMS Doggy Dash took place simultaneously with the Triathlon Sunday. More than a dozen men and women brought along their best canine friend and took a friendly stroll through the five mile course in Central Park. The top dog was Beowulf, who, along with owner Nathan Kucera, finished the course in 35:59. Blue, led by Bryan Scherich, finished second (40:25), while Bean, handled by Kurt Skalamera, finished third (42:31).
For the second consecutive year, weather played a large role in the athletes’ races. In 2008, heat, humidity and jellyfish proved to be obstacles. This year, the rain certainly slowed athletes’ final times, while the humidity made the race seem to last too long for some. But the precipitation did not take away from the triathletes’ overall experiences. After all, one-third of the race is run in water. Speaking of his final leg through historic Central Park, one runner said, “Running through one of the best landmarks in the world… it was a privilege.”

Photos: Jake Pritchard; Brightroom Photography; Annie Rosenberg; Andreas Stresemann

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