Race Coverage

Bunten is National Champion!



CLEVELAND, Ohio — Thousands of the nation’s top amateur triathletes competed for national titles on Saturday as the USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships got underway at Cleveland’s Edgewater Park. Justin Lippert, 22, and Gabrielle Bunten, 26, claimed the overall men’s and women’s titles respectively.

Age Group Nationals is USA Triathlon’s largest and longest-running National Championships event. This year’s participation is the second-highest in the event’s 35-year history, with more than 5,400 athletes registered to compete over two days. Cleveland is hosting for the first time since 1992, and will welcome the event back to Edgewater Park in 2019.

Saturday’s course featured a 1,500-meter swim in Lake Erie, 40-kilometer bike through the streets of downtown Cleveland and a 10-kilometer run ending at USA Triathlon’s iconic red-carpet finish chute within Edgewater Park....

The men’s overall podium was a showcase of up-and-coming talent, as all three top finishers came from the 20-24 age group. Lippert (Middletown, N.J.), claimed the men’s overall title with a time of 1 hour, 59 minutes, 29 seconds. Matthew Murray (Pearland, Texas), 20, was close behind in 2:00:11, and Nick Noone, 24, took third in 2:00:45.

“I just went full send on the bike,” Lippert said. “My phrase for the day was, ‘Are you going full send right now?’ So, every 5-10 minutes, I’d do that mental check — ‘Are you going full send? No? Well, let’s go.’”

In the women’s race, Bunten (Forest Lake, Minn.) claimed top honors with a time of 2:13:39. Overall runner-up Laura McDonald (Castle Rock, Colo.), 36, and third-place finisher Kim Webster (Framingham, Mass.), 42, both started in earlier waves than Bunten. After clocking times of 2:14:50 and 2:15:21, respectively, they waited to see if top finishers in the later waves would overtake them — and only Bunten did so. READ MORE

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