Race Coverage

It Rained. A Lot....(With Important Updates!)


LIBERTY TRIATHLON - It rained. A lot. And lightning became the kind of threat that forced race and USAT officials to shorten the bike route, albeit not before the leaders in both the Olympic and half IMers had passed the point where participants were rerouted. 

When the athletes de-biked, all were instructed to run the 10K course, which lopped an additional seven miles from the 70.3 route.

At least three participants eschewed the alterations, intent on doing the entire long course. One of them was elite entrant JOSH MORK, who'se eventual 4:21:06 was unofficial, though a signiificant improvement on his prior best at the distance.

Poor Josh. The week before he was enjoying a large lead when he zigged off course. He righted his ship, but the eventual result was a 3rd place finish, not a victory.

How would Josh have fared if fellow elites SEAN COOLEY, DAN ARLANDSON and WADE CRUSER (scary photo L - courtesy of Drew Frakes) decided to run the entire half marathon? We can only speculate, but that is something we love to do. Please don't take our conclusions too seriously....


Cooley rocked his fifth career long-distance victory in a time of 3:22:26 for the 1.2 - 56 - 10K. Our conservative math, which is based on his other half IM run performances, suggest that he would have posted a time between 4:04 and 4:07. It also suggests that runner-up Arlandson (3:30:58) and bronze medalist Cruser (3:31:45) would have slipped under 4:20, though not by much, which would have relegated Mork to a solid 4th behind three extremely talented and accomplished guys.


HANNA GRINAKER came into the race hungry and ready to reassert the dominance she demonstrated in 2016. And though KORTNEY HAAG, by our math, raced hard enought to better the course record 4:35:45 she set here in 2012, Hanna, once again using our math, turned in performance that could have taken the CR into the high 4:20s. (Hanna's time on the abreviated course was 3:40:34. Kort's was 3:42:11).

Third place for the long course women went to ERIN KLEGSTAD (3:53:49). Our math suggested that her effort could have produced a time in the high 4:40s, a personal best by 2-3 mintes.

Our formula is based on past results with accommodations for the fact that an abbreviated run would increase running pace somewhat, and that fatique would cause pace to decline later in events. Still, we are not to be trusted. Our point is only to demonstrate that these athletes were throwing down serious efforts last Saturday.

As mentioned earlier, the elite wave athletes from both events (Olympic and Half IM) did manage to cross the point of no return. This resulted in those Olympic men and women having done the entire original course.

UPDATE: We learned that the elite wave athletes were not the only ones who were able to cover the entire OLympic course.

Pre-race favorite MATT PAYNE, despite a rather horrible swim split (his words) was able to move to the front during the 37K bike portion, then rock on to a 1:18 margin of victory over DAVID HOLDEN, a three-time winner of this event. Matt's time was 1:58:55. The win was the 51st of his multisport career.

Holden was able to hold off fellow Liberty Olympic mutiple champ KEVIN O'CONNOR during the swim and bike. And though KO made up ground on the run, it wasn't quite enough to fully close the gap. Holden's final clocking was 2:00:13. Kevin's was 2:00:45.

With her Liberty Olympic victory, SUZIE FOX remained undefeated in 2018. 2017 champ ANDREA MYERS, 42, placed 2nd in 2:18:39 (3:05 behind Fox) and appears to be gunning for her 3rd consecutive Master of the Year nomination. Thus far in 2018, Andie has two wins, and two 2nds. Both 2nds were behind Fox, Minnesota's 2015 Triathlete of the Year.

Third place for the Olympic women went to the only athlete on this day who managed to set a record. North Dakota star MARNIE WALTH, 49, popped a 2:19:06, which lowered her AG mark by more than nine minutes.

UPDATE: Thanks to CHRISTEL KIPPENHAN, who contact us about a possible correction, then confirmation from CHERYL ZITUR, we learned that Cheryl (and Christel) did the entire course, and that Zitur's finishing time was 2:15:23, eleven seconds faster than Suzie's time. The victory was the 12th of Cheryl's triathlon career, and her time lowered her own 50-54W AG record set in 2016 by 19 seconds. Zitur is now a two-time Liberty Olympic champion. 

Here are the Top 4: 1. CHERYL ZITUR - 2:15:23, 2. SUZIE FOX - 2:15:34, 3. ANDREA MYERS - 2:18:39, 4. MARNIE WALTH - 2:19:06.


Despite the yucky weather and the concessions it necessitated, most participants finished with smiles on their faces. Triathletes everywhere know that bad weather doesn't mean that the race was bad. Heck, a huge portion of the field were recidivists from 2017, when the weather was especially inhospitable.

Here's a link to the results page. Don't expect them to make sense, or represent the actual placements of the partipants. Hopefully that information will be available soon.  RESULTS






+3 #1 Wade Cruser 2018-06-11 10:27
I’m so happy Drew was locked and loaded with his camera to capture the best moment of my day. Also, I am now receiving numerous requests to teach my “super aero” flying mount. I am more than willing to do one on one instructionals, but it won’t be cheap.

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