The Hippos showed up on the racing circuit in a big way this weekend. It is early in the season and at this stage it is difficult to measure progress just off of indoor trainers and early-morning pool swims. The best measurement of progress comes in racing conditions, and there were several opportunities this weekend for our athletes to prove themselves.
The first race of the day took place in Shelbyville, KY, with a sprint distance race run in reverse: run, bike, then swim. The cold itself was a challenge, as the race opened with below-freezing temperatures. This race series offers the first local races of the year for Central KY, and Rachel Wilson took her place on the podium with a 2nd place overall finish for the 3-race series as well as earning her second age-group win. Eli Dunlap and “Hippo-in-Law” Akin Erol took 1st and 2nd place, respectively, in the Men’s 20-24 AG with Eli coming in with his 2nd Top-10 overall finish in the series.
Next up was Lindsay Westerfield taking on the Ironman 70.3 in Haines City, FL. It was a tough week leading up to the race, with a strep throat diagnosis early in the week. Her training and determination (not to mention Ironman’s unforgiving refund policy) kept her race plans alive and she showed those streptococci who was boss. Lindsay somehow managed to crank out a personal record of 5:33:21 and finished in the top-10 in her age group.
Coach Kevin Ryan also took on an Ironman 70.3 this weekend on Galveston Island, TX. In ridiculous wind and low temperatures, Coach Kevin came out of the water in 5th place among the elite competitors. The bike course is infamous for strong winds (20-30mph) that seriously impact the results. A tailwind carried his outward bike leg at speeds averaging over 30mph but at the halfway turnaround, the cold temperature and headwind took their toll. After losing feeling and control of his legs on the bike, he made the smart call to pull out of the race in T2 before risking injury on the run.
The final race of the weekend was in Greenville, SC, where Sally Corrigan competed in the 2018 USA Triathlon Duathlon National Championships. She posted blistering run times, averaging 6:48min/mi for the 5k and sub-6:30min for the 2.85k off the bike. Sally took 2nd place in her AG with a time of 1:10:48.