Homer Alaska - Sports

Story last updated at 3:40 PM on Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Triathlon highlights best of Homer



By Lindsay Johnson
Staff Writer

Like a family growing up, the 11th annual Mariner "Ironman" triathlon featured plenty of firsts, notable seconds and sweet moments in between, all held together with equal parts pain and joy.

Jens Beck of Anchorage led the entire race last Saturday to finish in 1 hour, 24 minutes, 13 seconds, 22 seconds faster than his winning time last year.

Team Good Enuff — Liz Villarreal, Derek Reynolds and Catriona Lowe, all of Homer — took second place overall in the second year that teams have been allowed. They held onto the fastest team title with a combined time of 1:47:08.

Corrie Smith, also of Anchorage, finished the course in 1:52:10 to be the first-place woman and sixth finisher overall.

Smith's boyfriend Greg Martin took third place, followed by team Awesome Es — Elysha Chapple, Emily Sloth and Elizabeth Roedl.

Kyle Wentz posted the fastest Mariner time in 1:50:56 for fifth place. Homer High senior Marie Schmidt finished seventh in 1:55:21.

Ten teams and 42 individual athletes competed in the event, which kicked off at 8:15 a.m. with a 1,000-yard swim. Athletes swam two-by-two in four lanes while the Mariner swim team circle-swam in the other two until they finished and another "heat" started.

Most jumped on bikes after hopping out of the pool while some tagged a teammate for the 15-mile bike ride up East Hill, over West Skyline, down West Hill and out to the Fishing Lagoon on the Spit. Runners then trucked five miles up to the high school.

"It's like all our training in one day," summed up senior Mariner swimmer Dana Olesch.

The athletic challenge serves not only as an early season endurance builder and fundraiser for the swim team, but also as a way to strengthen relationships across the community.

"I love to be here and to be supporting our swimmers," said Elysha Chapple, herself a former Mariner swimmer.

A village of current and alumni parents pulled off race logistics, which include feeding and watering athletes, timing and providing a bike shuttle back to the school.

Mariner alumni parents Christine and Deland Anderson used to help run the race, but have swam, biked and run in the event since 2009 when their kids' graduation left them without an excuse to just watch.

This year, the Andersons celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary by doing the whole triathlon together, starting by sharing a lane for the swim. They both posted best times.

Donna and Chris Boss, a young Coast Guard couple, both did the triathlon for the first time Saturday, but went about it separately. While waiting to find out who was faster, Chris said he found swimming all those laps a little tougher than his normal job pulling people out of the water.

Donna had a leg up on her husband with one triathlon in Texas under her belt, but she finished a few seconds behind him in this one.

"It was a pretty challenging triathlon. That hill is something else," she said.

Though cloudy, the weather was drier than in recent races, which led Amber Stull to leave caution behind and let loose on the West Hill Road descent. Then in second place behind Beck, Stull was going 44.4 miles per hour according to her Garmin going into the hairpin turn near the bottom of the hill when she crashed.

She took the brunt of the impact on her left shoulder, and suffered a concussion, some lacerations and internal bruising, but was feeling positive when she spoke with the Homer News Tuesday.

"I'm really baffled and amazingly blessed," Stull said.

Stull was grateful to Diana Larson, the driver who found her, impressed with the emergency responders who cared for her and nonetheless delighted with Homer's triathlon.

"It's my third time, I really enjoy this race," she said.

"I love the big climb at the beginning, the beautiful skyline and the descent. I feel like I'm living life to the fullest when I'm on this course. I like it too 'cause it's laid back and it's just really good practice for the big stuff. It doesn't matter what you're doing as long as you're having fun doing it. I just love it."

With the support of her friends and family, Stull expects to soon be back in a training routine for the XTERRA World Championship triathlon, to be held in Maui late October.

For some there Saturday, the family of triathlon athletes extends beyond Anchorage and Homer.

"I run in this triathlon to honor my late husband, Valdis Kirsis, who died in early 2010. He loved this triathlon and loved competing with Jason Lamoreaux and Jens Beck, some of the top athletes in this competition. I have felt tremendous joy continuing this tradition for Val, and actually my times are getting faster," wrote Lise Kirsis in an email. Kirsis anchored team Energizer Bunnies, which included bicyclist Shlomo Gherman and Mariner swimmer Celeste Fairbanks.

Homer hosts a two-day invitation swim and dive meet tomorrow and Saturday at the Kate Kuhns Aquatic Center. It is their last home meet.

Lindsay Johnson can be reached at Lindsay.johnson@homernews.com.

Name (Teammembers), Gender, Age, Total time- swim, bike, run

Jens Beck, M, 41, 1:24:13- 0:12 0:42 0:29

Good Enuff (Liz Villarreal, Derek Reynolds, Catriona Lowe) 1:47:08 - 0:15 0:47 0:44

Greg Martin, M, 34, 1:47:50 - 0:17 0:53 0:36

Awesom E's (Elysha Chapple, Emily Sloth, Elizabeth Roedl) 1:50:20 - 0:14 0:58 0:37

Kyle Wentz, M, 17, 1:50:56 - 0:11 1:03 0:35

Corrie Smith, F, 32, 1:52:10 - 0:15 0:55 0:41

Marie Schmidt, F, 17, 1:55:21 - 0:11 1:03 0:40

James Reid, M, 17, 1:57:18 - 0:12 1:02 0:42

Michael Stangel, M, 43, 1:57:28 - 0:20 0:59 0:37

Brian Sorbel, M, 37, 1:57:53 - 0:15 1:03 0:38

Angie Brennan, F, 37, 1:58:34 - 0:16 0:59 0:43

Michael Newell, M, 30, 2:03:54 - 0:19 1:03 0:40

David Martin, M, 29, 2:04:34 - 0:14 1:06 0:43

Iron Girlz (Carmen Stephl, Lanie Hughes, Krystin Habighorst) 2:06:41 - 0:22 1:03 0:41

Christopher Boss, M, 38, 2:06:55 - 0:21 1:01 0:44

Katie Buss, F, 35, 2:07:47 - 0:19 1:04 0:43

Joel Wright, M, 28, 2:08:22 - 0:19 1:03 0:44

Ed Banas, M, 52, 2:08:55 - 0:21 1:03 0:43

Break a Leg (Emilie Otis, Heather Renner) 2:09:00 - 0:14 1:13 0:41

Donna Boss, F, 38, 2:09:32 - 0:18 1:05 0:45

Barbara Baysinger, F, 43, 2:09:36 - 0:17 1:06 0:45

Gloria Clendaniel, F, 26, 2:10:45 - 0:17 1:06 0:46

Team Lewis (Courtney Lewis, Rob Lewis, Daniel Lewis) 2:11:10 - 0:19 1:11 0:39

Rob's Handicap (Ruth Sensenig, Rob Rurka, Annie Ridley) 2:14:07 - 0:26 1:06 0:40

Peter Roedl, M, 56, 2:15:58 - 0:22 1:00 0:52

Kristin Morrow, F, 39, 2:16:14 - 0:18 1:08 0:48

Team HS Girls, (Lukia Martishev, Casey Farrell), 2:17:18 - 0:17 1:15 0:44

Dream Team (Dan Miotke, Krista Etzwiler, Amanda Moitke) 2:18:07 - 0:17 1:16 0:43

Christopher Hepp, M, 23, 2:21:15 - 0:11 1:07 1:01

Alice Anderson, F, 52, 2:21:26 - 0:24 1:09 0:47

Lydia Arndt, F, 16, 2:23:29 - 0:15 1:10 0:57

Oriana Badajos, F, 34, 2:24:08 - 0:17 1:16 0:50

Ingrid Harrald, F, 41, 2:24:08 - 0:16 1:17 0:50

Mark Laker, M, 46, 2:24:39 - 0:15 1:16 0:53

Nathanael Hardy, M, 17, 2:25:04 - 0:12 1:21 0:51

Dana Olesch, F, 17, 2:25:16 - 0:06 1:28 0:49

Deland Anderson, M, 50, 2:26:56 - 0:30 0:56 0:59

The Energizer Bunnies (Celeste Fairbanks, Schlomo Gherman, Lise Kirsis) 2:26:59 - 0:18 1:12 0:55

Tony Oliver, M, 55, 2:28:22 - 0:21 1:09 0:57

Liu Tian-En, M, 15, 2:28:32 - 0:20 1:11 0:57

Taylor Iredale, F, 15, 2:30:45 - 0:07 1:36 0:46

Emily Schmidt, F, 17, 2:32:47 - 0:14 1:29 0:48

Team HS Boys (David Ware, Thomas Vanek, Traven Apiki) 2:33:22 - 0:15 1:38 0:39

Christine Anderson, F, 50, 2:35:57 - 0:21 1:16 0:58

Mark Nagle, M, 16, 2:41:36 - 0:06 1:32 1:02

James Nagle, M, 16, 2:41:56 - 0:07 1:32 1:02

Lauren Kuhns, F, 13, 2:47:21 - 0:15 1:36 0:55

Miron Martishev, M, 19, 2:48:16 - 0:15 1:44 0:48

Die to Tri (Cassie Collins, Holli Watkins, Nicole Butler) 2:51:59 - 0:16 1:40 0:54

Katie Schmidt, F, 17, 2:54:40 - 0:14 1:42 0:57

Abby Brant, F, 15, 2:56:33 - 0:21 1:39 0:55

Akane Fujimura, F, 15, 3:32:24 - 0:29 2:01 1:01

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