Race Previews

Urgency & Specialness...

ruth-frankfort.gifBy Ruth Brennan Morrey (ruthbrennanmorrey.com)

This weekend’s race at the Ironman European Championship in Frankfurt, Germany has been a mirage in the distance for the past six months. Two years ago, my coach, Dr. Phil Skiba, and I committed to developing a first time plan to qualify for the Kona World Championship in 2015. Realizing the 2015 race date, October, 10th, happened to fall on my 40th birthday, qualification somehow felt even more urgent and special. My family has been incredibly supportive and patient in the build up and I couldn’t be more grateful. Comments such as, “Kids, let Mom sleep because she has a long run later today” and “Mom, I’ll run the last ½ mile with you” are common words of support, filling me up to the brim in my joy cup. I feel so fortunate....

Ruther Hat Deutschland..

ruther-airport.gifIRONMAN FRANKFORT - Next Sunday, Ruth Brennan Morrey will face what is arguably the deepest women's field of her young pro career (though St. George's field was similarly awesome) at the European Ironman Championship in Frankfort, Germany. The prize purse is $150,000 and pays 10-deep. Despite the depth of field, we believe that Ruther will come back with a check in her pocket. In fact, we think she'll make at least five grand. And yes, she has a shot at a podium spot, though a 4th or 5th seems more likely.

Here's the prize breakdown: !. - $30,000, 2. $15,000, 3. $8000, 4. - $6,500, 5. - $5000, 6. - $3500, 7. - $2500, 8. $2000, 9. - $1500, 10. - $1000.

If you've been following women's IM racing in the last few years, you'll probably agree that Switzerland's Daniela Ryf is the woman to beat. The 2014 70.3 World Champion won two IMs in 2014 and finished 2nd at Kona. Not bad for her first season doing 140.6s. Her PR is 8:53, but many of her peers think she's got what it takes to become the next Chrissie Wellington, if that is possible.

We won't bet against Ryf on Sunday.

Other podium contenders include three-time Franfort champ Caroline Steffen, also of Switzerland, who has more sub-9s than anyone else in the field, Julia Gajer of German (PR - 8:51), and Denmark's Michelle Vesterby (PR - 8:57)...

Larry's Time Has Come...

larry-and-son.gifPhoto - Larry Hosch and his coach.

ZTRI PREVIEW - Winning your first triathlon is a life-changing deal. Just ask Gaby Bunten, who won her first race last year, picked up her 2nd W at RochesterFest and has been a threat to win every event she's entered this year.

You can also ask masters athletes Jen Neuman and Angie Hop, both of whom are a HOOT!, and both of them started winning races after they turned 40. Jen now has six victories, and Hopper has eight.

We believe that Larry Hosch's life is about to change. He's our pick to collect his first career multisport win this weekend at the 4th annual ZTRI on majestic Lake Pokegema south of Grand Rapids. He was runner-up there in 2014....

Lake Waconia XXVI Preview....

lwt-logo.gifLAKE WACONIA PREVIEW - There are five Minnesota tris scheduled for next weekend. We don't know much about three of them--Average Jo, St. James and Tri for Health--but we sure hope that they are successful and attract the kind of numbers that justify their continuance.

One of the other two races is Saturday's By George, which is Uncle Randy's resurrection of the original race by that name that took place in the 80s, and it's successor, Minneman. The Lake George venue is outstanding and the park is the kind you'll want to hang out in for a few hours after the event, perhaps do some barbequeing. We don't know who's racing there, so we can't make any competition-related predictions. We do know that Uncle Randy will bring the fun and that a good time will be had by all. If you're free on Saturday, we hope to see you at Lake George....

RochesterFest & Manitou Preves...

roch-logo.gifUPDATE: Brooks and Suzie win LAKE MINNETONKA DUATHLON (cancelled swim) this morning. RESULTS

Two great races will take place tomorrow: the 8th annual RochesterFest Tri and the 24th Manitou Sprint Triathlon. Without further ado, here are MTN's predictions:

ROCHESTERFEST OLYMPIC - Podium Guesses

David Thompson, RFT's course record holder, picked up his 95th career win last weekend at the Accel Triathlon in Iowa. His margin was humongous. The margin will not be as large on Sunday because his competition includes Patrick Parish, Kris Spoth and Kevin O'Connor. Our Top 3 picks are: 1. DKT, 2. PP, 3. Spoth, who will pick up the amateur win. O'Connor, who's racing like a banshee this season will take fourth. We think he'll lower his masters record, a 2:01:01, set here in 2013.

The women's race for the top spot will be intense. Gaby Bunten and Bridget McCoy are evenly matched, but we suspect that Bunten will come out on Top, though not by much. She has finished 2nd in her last two efforts--Trinona and Capitol City--and appears ready to collect her first win of the 2015 season. Her time at Cap City--1:05:11--clearly illustrates that she is faster than last season.

Our pick for the final podium spot is Rochester's Diana Shewmaker, who finished 4th here last year....

Immune to the Stuff...

christina-Buff.gifLAKE MINNETONKA PREVIEW - There are only 2-3 multisport events in Minnesota that seem to be impervious to those trends that have been adversely effecting race enrollment in recent year. Northwoods in an example. An even better one, better because it is twice as large as NWT, is Lake Minnetonka.

Sure, LMT takes a little longer to fill up than it used to, but it continues to get its target 600-650 participants. This year, the 12th edition of the race, is no different. In fact, it may have accepted a few more registrations than their 650 limit.

Why is this race special. Why is it immune to the pernicious trends?

We're not sure, but we think that the fact that it is an excellent event in every way has something to do with it. Ross and Tina bust their respective humps to make their participants happy and resolute about returning, and they are (happy) and they do (return). In fact, the LMT recidivism rate is as high, if not higher, than "destination" races like Northwoods and Timberman.

And speaking of recidivism, eight past champions--Brooks Grossinger, Brett Lovaas, Patrick Parish, Steve Sander and Tony Schiller for the men; Jan Guenther, Heidi Keller-Miler and Sarah Mercer for the women--are returning....

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