Race Coverage

Watch Out! Big Daddy's Comin'...



18th Northwoods Triathlon - Only three times in the eighteen-year history of this race had more than one woman broken the magic 1:10 mark. It happened in 2003 and 2014. And it happened again last Saturday. Not only that, only one slim second separated the women who bettered that standard.

Certain Rookie of the Year nominee CAMI ECKHOFF (photo L) was coming off her first career victory at Big Lake Olympic the weekend before, thus she registered for Wave #1, the Elite Wave. Her goal was to break 1:10. Being first out of the water was reason for optimism.

Solid bike and run splites followed. When Cami was in sight of the finish line, it was clear that she would finish comfortably under the 70-minute mark. Her official time was 1:09:02.

It certainly appeared that she had collected her second consecutive win.

Three time Master of the Year CHERYL ZITUR, now 56, was the only woman who could threaten Eckhoff's W. But history was not on her side. No woman over-50 had ever broken 1:10 here. The closest any fifty-genarian  had come was ROBIN TEDLUND's 1:12:26, and that was back in 2008....


But Zitur isn't just any fifty-genarian. Still, going 2:27 faster than Tedlund's time was a lot to ask; and beating Eckhoff's 1:09:02 would require that she better Robin's time by 3:25. 

Cheryl lauched in Wave 6, fifteen minutes after the Elite wave. Cami held her lead for 14:59. It wasn't immediately known that the closest race in Northwoods history was won by Zitur until the first batch of results were posted, and splits showed that while Cami's swim and run splits were suprerior, Cheryl's bike split made the difference. What a race! Very exciting. The victory was the 18th of Zitur's multisport career.

Three-time Northwoods winner MATA AGRE finished 3rd in 1:12:35.adam1.jpg

BROOKS GROSSINGER had fifteen wins in fifteen starts at Northwoods. Was this the year his streak would end? No way. The 44-year-old went off the front and never looked back. And once again, her broke the 1-hour mark (59:24), a feat that only two other men's had accomplished here. For Grossinger, it was his 12th sub-60-minute time on this fast, scenic route. His resume now boasts 38 career multisport wins.


Local star DAVID LEWIS placed 2nd for the seventh time here. His time was 1:03:25. His fellow Headwater's Tri Club member, RYAN ROGERS, claimed the final podium spot, matching his 2019 placing, albeit about a minute-and-a-half faster this time around.

Two-hundred and fifteen athletes finished this year's race, the last to cross the was a wonderful hairy chap named ADAM LOWRY (photo R), a former 300+ pounder who has adopted healthy ways. He's still a big guy. And he still finishes last, something he has done three times here. But he has conquered his diabetes, and now plans to become a faster triathlete. And while being next to last at Northwoods next year would be awesome, he enjoys teasing the Elite participants. After a jubilant crowd of Adam fans ushered him across the finish line, some humming the theme from "Chariots of Fire," Lowry laughingly announced, "Watch out! Big Daddy's comin'!"