TYLER SMITH AND ERICA HAWLEY TAKE ON THE BEST JUNIOR ELITES THIS WEEKEND

For Tyler Smith and Erica Hawley this weekend’s Junior Elite World Championships for 16-19 year olds will have special meaning as it will be the last time they will race at the junior level in these world championships.

Tyler and Erica have been outstanding ambassadors for Bermuda in triathlon on a world level. They have managed to combine a busy school and more recently college workload ( Erica attends the University of Colorado in Boulder and Tyler attends Leeds University) with a grueling training schedule that leaves them with little time to socialize.

cropped-img_0365.jpgIf Erica races to her potential then she has a  chance of a top ten finish this weekend although if in contention going into the 5km run she will likely need to run a personal best. Erica, despite injury and the emotional stress of losing a close friend and training partner who died in a bike accident, has had an outstanding season with a 4th place finish on the North American Junior Elite Championships, a silver medal in the Central American and Caribbean Junior Elite Championships and the gold medal  as a freshman at the US Collegiate Championships. After having to withdraw from a Junior European Series race in Austria due to a crash the day before, Erica carried a shoulder injury into the next race in Holten, Netherlands and finished 27th. She then had to withdraw from the regional world championships qualifying race in Magog, Canada but was lucky enough to get a wildcard entry to the championships. Her last race since then was in Malmo, Sweden in an elite sprint race that included senior professional women. Erica finished a confidence boosting 16th in a good time of just over 1 hour 3 mins, an encouraging performance considering her interrupted training schedule. Since then she has been largely in Boulder training with her team and she will be well prepared going into these championships.

Tyler’s season was a reverse of Erica’s as he started the season with mediocre results by his standards but has found his form as the season has progressed, maybe as the sun has come out. Like Erica he has had to deal with adversity as early in the year he was hit by a truck and although he escaped serious injury it put back his training.

Tyler Smith Magog 2017 runLike Erica, Tyler will be depending on his ability to come out with the lead group on the 750m swim, have a good transition and stay with the pace with the lead group of triathletes on the 20km bike. Unless he is part of a small breakaway group on the bike, which is quite possible, Tyler will have to produce a very exceptional run for the 5km to have any chance of a top ten or even top 20 finish. A sub 15 min 40 run would be exceptional for Tyler but I expect as many as 10 juniors to go under 15 mins on Saturday so alot will depend on how many juniors get off the bike together.

Tyler’s recent form has however been encouraging, in particular in his last race in Mallory Park in the UK on 27th August in an U20 Elite race that included the British elite juniors vying for a place in the GB team for these world championships. Tyler finished 5th out of 55 starters and most importantly exited the water first and held his own with the lead group of 8 riders on the bike. The race was won by Ben Dijkstra one of the favorites for Rotterdam. Dijkstra ran 14 min 43 secs for the 5km to Tyler’s 16 min 09 secs and therein lies Tyler’s challenge. However, Tyler’s most impressive result this year was his 3rd place  in the UK’s Junior Elite Championships in June and he will go into this race knowing that if he can be there off the bike he has a realistic chance of a top 20 finish or better depending on the size of the lead group (if he makes the group) and the lead they have over the chasers. He qualified for these championships with a 15th place finish in Magog in the South, North and Central American Junior ELite Championships/

Erica’s race gets underway on Friday 15th September at 3PM Rotterdam time and Tyler will start on Saturday 16th September at 8AM Rotterdam time.

Results and race coverage can be found at http://www.triathlon.org

 

FLORA DUFFY LOOKS TO WRAP UP THE TRIATHLON WORLD SERIES THIS WEEKEND

flora-with-itu-series-leader-trophyFlora Duffy will race this weekend in Rotterdam, Netherlands as she looks to secure her second consecutive International Triathlon Union’s World Series gold medal and her second consecutive Grand Final (unofficially the World Championships race within the World Series) gold medal.

After a brilliant 2016 season in which she won the World Series, the Grand Final in Mexico and the XTerra ( off road) World Championships, Flora has taken her performances to an even higher level in 2017 as in the six races she has entered in the world series she  won five and finished 2nd once. But what has really caught the headlines in 2017 has been the manner in which she has won these races leading from the front and winning by margins of over a minute which in World Series racing is considered a large margin. In the process Flora has established the largest winning margin in World Series history and equalled Rio Olympic gold medallist Gwen Jorgensen’s most victories in a season.

Rotterdam will undoubtedly be Flora’s biggest test of the season as not only will the Grand Final feature the strongest field of the year but it will likely also see triathlon powerhouse countries like the USA, Great Britain and Australia adopting team tactics. Their main aim will be to ensure that even if Flora is able to get away with a small group on the swim that they use team tactics to reel her in early on the bike in the hope that their better runners can outrun Flora over the final 10km. However, Flora has shown that she can run with the best so even if a large group starts the run together expect Flora to be in the mix at the end.

If Ashleigh Gentle of Australia, currently 2nd in the series and the only person to beat Flora this year, were to top the podium then Flora only needs to finish 7th to take the World Series title. However, Flora will not be looking to simply do enough to finish top 7 as she looks to defend her Grand Final title.

Should Flora win then she will have won an unprecedented 6 World Series races in a season. Flora has already established herself as one of the greatest triathletes in the history of the sport and when she waits on the swim start pontoon this Saturday 16th September at 3.51PM Rotterdam time she will be looking to enhance her standing further with a gold medal performance.

To follow Flora’s race go to http://www.triathlon.org and either sign up to watch the race live on Triathlon TV or follow her on the race blog or related social media such as the ITU’s Twitter feed. Flora’s race will start at 10.51 AM Bermuda time and will be preceded by the Mens Final in which a resurgent Jonny Brownlee will be looking to forget the nightmare finish in the 2016 Grand Final when he succumbed to the heat when in the lead less than 1/2 km from the finish.

Both finals will also be televised live on the BBC if you have that feed.

LABOUR DAY TRIATHLON RESULTS

The 2017 annual Labour Day Home Event Triathlon at Harrington Sound School Dock attracted a good turn out with some exceptional performances.

Alan Potts, who is establishing himself as one of the island’s leading triathletes, was the comfortable winner, with Maddie Durkin producing an excellent performance to hold of the much improved Liz Stewart by just 18 seconds to take top female honours.

Labour Day Home Event
Harrington Sound School Dock
Sept 4, 2017
Swim Bike Run Finish
Approximately “Sprint Distances”
1 Alan Potts 13.25 29.08 19.12 1.01.45
2 Sam Boaden 13.16 32.08 18.35 1.03.59
3 Tim Patterson 12.10 33.18 22.12 1.07.40
4 Steve O’Reilly 13.55 32.18 21.47 1.08.00
5 Maddie Durkin 11.45 34.48 22.47 1.09.20
6 Liz Stewart 13.52 33.25 22.21 1.09.38
7 Becky Shepherd 13.22 34.36 22.34 1.10.32
8 Eileen Mullowney 10.19 34.18 26.24 1.11.01
9 Otis Ingham 19.38 31.44 24.06 1.15.28
10 Christine DaCosta 14.03 37.53 23.50 1.15.46
11 Zoe Roberts 17.39 34.58 23.32 1.16.09
12 Diana White 16.32 36.43 24.39 1.17.54
13 John Thompson 13.35 37.39 26.47 1.18.01
14 Charlie Duffy 16.42 38.15 23.33 1.18.30
15 Randy Smith 19.28 33.16 26.33 1.19.17
16 Jamie Lee Wright 13.11 40.02 26.39 1.19.52
17 Matthew Viney 15.05 37.42 27.06 1.19.53
18 Maria Duffy 16.16 39.59 26.37 1.22.52
19 Carolyn Conway 16.35 42.33 24.51 1.23.59

Super Sprint
1 Mel Sousa 11.04 31.37 16.23 59.04

Random
Nick Pilgrim 10.23 33.24 no run
Colleen Scherer 11.10 58.47 long cycle, no run
Caleb Ingham 11.26 35.20 13.51 short run
Andrew Davis 11.59 no cycle or run
Kent Richardson 12.02 19.31 11.33 long swim, short run
Steve Petty 12.58 34.51 16.19 short run
Julia Hawley 13.20 36.02 no run
Chris Jones 13.46 42.13 no run
Will Peckett 14.01 32.52 no run
Sharon Craig 16.23 36.41 7.54 short run

CORRECTION : KAREN SMITH 15TH OUT OF 187 IN AGE GROUP- NOT 42 IN AG GROUP -AT IRONMAN 70.3 WORLDS

APOLOGIES

Karen Smith transition 70.3 worlds 2017.jpeg
Karen Smith in transition  at the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships 2017 where she finished 15th in her age group (45-49) out of 187 starters in her age group – Photos courtesy of Aaron Smith

Karen Smith was 15th in the female 45-49 age group at the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships but out of 187 starters in the age group and not 42 starters as previously reported.

TYLER BUTTERFIELD 7TH, KAREN SMITH 15TH AT WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS

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TYLER BUTTERFIELD ON THE BIKE TODAY

Tyler Butterfield produced another strong performance this weekend as he finished 7th today (Sunday 10th September) at the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships in Chattanooga whilst Karen Smith finished a creditable 15th out of 42 starters in the women’s 45-49 age group.

Pre race favorite Xavier Gomez of Spain and the USA’s Ben Kanute finished the swim in 24 min 05 secs to give themselves about a 50 second buffer over  a group of pre race favorites that included Tim Don of the UK and Tyler. Sebastian Kienle of Germany, who had been expected to challenge for a podium spot, did not do himself any favors as he trailed Gomez by 4 minutes out of the water.

It was Kanute, a renowned swim / bike specialist who powered away on the challenging bike course recording a time of 2 hrs and 8 min to open up a four minute gap on a closely bunched group of challengers that included Gomez, Tim Don, Maurice Clavel of Germany  Australian Sam Appleton, Kienle ( who recorded a blistering 2 hr 7 mins for the bike, and Andreas Dreitz of Germany.

Gomez, a renowned runner, then produced easily the best run of the day ( 1 r 10 min) to catch a gutsy Kanute and take the win in 3:49:45 ahead of the surprising Kanute ( 3:51:07)with Don in 3rd ( 3:52:00). As last year in Australia in these championships, it was the run that ultimately cost Tyler a podium finish as his 2 hr 17 mins 32 secs could not match Appleton ( 2 :14 41), Kienle ( 1:16:04) and Clavel (1:16:38). Tyler finished in 3 hrs 56 mins 22 secs with splits of swim : 25:20, bike : 2:10:40 and run : 1:17:32.However, in such a strong field Tyler must be encouraged by another strong performance as he continues his preparation for the full Ironman World Championships in Kona. Ultimately it will again come down to how well he can run off the bike in Kona.

Karen, who has previously finished in the podium at these championships (2nd) had a solid race, especially as she is still building to full long distance racing fitness after a lengthy period out with injuries. Karen’s favorite distance is the full IRONMAN in which she won her age group at the World CHampionships ( 40-44 age group).

Karen Smith 70.3 worlds 2017.jpeg
Karen Smith heads to the finish line today

Here is Karen’s race report :

I’m pretty happy with the result as this year was about rebuilding and getting fit for ironman racing after a few years off.

The swim was mostly upstream so it made for a challenging start as the current was strong and sighting was so important.

The course favored the stronger bikers. After a quick 5mile section, we started to climb Lockout Mountain. It’s 4 miles straight up. This is followed by 18 miles of punchy uphills. Finally at the crest of the mountain we were anticipating a fast downhill but instead we faced a relentless head wind. At least it was scenic.

The run course is also hilly but I felt great on the run until mile 9-10 when my pace slowed, but was I able to fight back and end with a strong finish.

Karen’s time was 5 hrs 18 minutes exactly. Beni Gras-Thompson of the USA won the age group in 4 hr 53 min 54 secs with three women breaking 5 hours in the age group which shows the depth of the age group fields on such a challenging course.

For full results go to http://www.ironman.com

 

TYLER BUTTERFIELD TAKES ON THE WORLD’S BEST THIS SUNDAY

ty butterfield usa champs 2017.jpg
TYLER BUTTERFIELD FINISHING 3RD IN THE 2017 IRONMAN NORTH AMERICAN CHAMPIONSHIPS IN TEXAS EARLIER THIS YEAR

This weekend, Tyler Butterfield will take time off from feeding goats and chasing chickens on the family farm in Boulder to take on the world’s best Ironman 70.3 triathletes this Sunday 10th September in the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Chattanooga in the USA.

Tyler will be hoping to better his 2016 Ironman 70.3 World Championships result where he finished a creditable 13th after being in contention for a podium finish off the bike. Last year his season was marred somewhat by injury and his run time of just over 1 hr 16 mins last year will need to be in the 1 hr 10-12 min range if he is to have a chance for a podium.

However, so far his season has gone well with a progressive improvement over the months so he should be going into these championships with some cautious optimism but fully aware that each year there appear to be more and more genuine contenders for a podium spot.

Tyler’s key long distance results this season.

4th –  Ironman 70.3 Dubai  – world-class field.

3rd – Ironman North American Championship – Texas  broke 8 hours –  7:58:29

2nd – Ironman 70.3 Monterrey, Pan American Pro Championship – 25 secs off the win

1st – Ironman 70.3 Raleigh, USA

DNF – Ironman Boulder, Colorado – damaged tire.

To follow the race on Sunday go to :

http://ap.ironman.com/triathlon/events/americas/ironman-70.3/world-championship/results.aspx#axzz4riyj4Hon

 

Karen Smith to represent Bermuda at the Ironman 70.3 World Championships

Catlin Bda Triathlons May 11th 2014 560_14159015382_l

After some late withdrawals, as far as I can ascertain, Karen Smith will be Bermuda’s sole AGE GROUP representative this Saturday 9th September at the Ironman 70.3 World Championships, having qualified earlier in the year in Puerto Rico. Karen will compete in the 45-49 age group.

Karen will be hoping to emulate her performance at the 2014 full Ironman World Championships at which she won her age group, a amazing accomplishment given the quality of the field at this event.

This will be the 4th time that Karen has raced at the 70.3 World Championships, with her best finish being 2nd in her age group in 2008 in Clearwater, Florida where she finished in a very quick 4 hrs 32 mins over a fast course. Karen raced again in Las Vegas in 2012 but in 104 degree temperatures she had bad leg cramps and was way down the field. Her last 70.3 Worlds was at Mt. Tremblant in 2014 where she finished 8th , although her main focus that season was Ironman Worlds and this race was in preparation for Kona.

More than 3,000 athletes from around the world (who qualified at another Ironman 70.3 event) will compete at this prestigious race. More than 130,000 athletes participate in a season of qualifying races for the championship, a series which consists of over 85 events in locations such as Australia, Germany, South Africa and Switzerland. Participants in the Ironman 70.3 World Championship will range in age from 18 to 75 plus, and will represent over 70 countries.

The Ironman 70.3 World Championship was created in 2006 and held in Clearwater, Florida until 2011. It then moved to Henderson, Nevada, where athletes were treated to a much more challenging course. In 2014, the event took place in Mont-Tremblant, Quebec—its first stop on the new global rotation for the championship. The event headed to Europe for the first time in 2015, where Zell am See, Austria, hosted . In 2016, Australia’s beautiful Sunshine Coast hosted the event.