Over 200 Minnesota athletes made the trek over to Madison to take part in Ironman Wisconsin, which drew over 2000 athletes from around the world. The 2.4 mile swim/112 mile bike/26.2 mile run triathlon is one of the qualifiers for the pinnacle of iron-distance triahtlons, the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii October 10.
The event draws a mix of Ironman veterans looking for a PR (personal record) and Ironman rookies “just looking to finish”. (It’s always an interesting and entertaining couple of weeks here at the store preceeding the race as we get all the nervous and anxious Ironman athletes) As the closest Ironman race to Minnesota, it also draws some pretty big crowds of Minnesota specators looking to be inspired by people they know racing.
Specators were not disappointed this year, with perfect spectating weather (albeit a bit hot for racers) and rock solid Minnesota athlete performances. By far the most impressive performance of the day (in our opinion) was that of Gear West Ski & Run owner Jan Guenther. Jan raced an excellently balanced race with a swim of 1:03, a bike of 5:28, and a run of 3:48 to finish in 10:28:19. Not only was she the first master and grandmaster, she was the 1st amateur woman and 8th overall, beating several pro women. As she crossed the finish line, the race announcers were apparently in disbelieve that a 50 year old woman could be coming in that soon, so they didn’t announce that she was 1st amateur or 1st master.
Relative young-gun Alex Hooke (of Rochester, MN) took top Minnesota honors finishing in 9:55:35. The only Minnesotan to break the elusive 10 hour barrier. Gear West Bike and Tri’s Doug Davis finished second for Minnesotans, competing in the 40-44 age group and nabbing his spot for Kona with a 10:04:30. Pam Nielson was 2nd in the 30-34 age group with a 10:52:21. Brian Kirkvold of Excelsior, MN had the fastest amateur swim in 50:44. Congratulations to all Minnesota finishers!
Below are some images courtesy of Yndecam