Bike riders climb the hill at Cherry Valley Road in Gilford at the start of the 56-mile bike ride for the Ironman 70.3. (Photo by Erin Plummer) (click for larger version)
August 19, 2014Athletes from across the globe gathered in Gilford for a weekend of physical challenges during the Timberman Triathlon.
Thousands of athletes and spectators descended on Gilford for the weekend-long Timberman events. The weekend kicked off on Saturday with the Timberman Sprint competition. On Sunday, competitors then took part in the Ironman 70.3 Timberman triathlon. Each competition began at Ellacoya State Park with courses that went through Gilford and further parts of the Lakes Region.
Race Co-Director Audra Tassone-Indeck said there were around 3,000 athletes participating in the weekend's events, a number consistent with previous years.
On Saturday competitors took part in a three-tenths of a mile swim, a 15-mile bike ride, and a three-mile run.
On Sunday morning, athletes got on their marks for the Ironman 70.3 triathlon. Competitors did a 1.2 mile swim in Lake Winnipesaukee, rode their bikes 56 miles from Ellacoya down to Canterbury and back, then took part in a 13.1 mile run from Ellacoya to Smith Cove and back.
Tassone-Indeck said the weekend was incredible, commenting on the support of the communities. She said the communities' police and fire departments were greatly supportive as was the state for allowing use of Ellacoya and Gunstock Mountain Resort for event and parking space.
"All the communities are just wonderful to work with and we're incredibly thankful," Tassone-Indeck said.
On Sunday, the 70.3 race started at 7 a.m. and the last finishers came in around 4 p.m. and the event ended with an awards ceremony.
The top female and male Pro finishers were both Australians.
The top finisher overall was 34-year-old Leon Griffin, a native of Australia living in Boulder, Colorado. Griffin completed the swim in 24 minutes, 38 seconds; the bike in two hours, 10 minutes, and 21 seconds; and the run in one hour, 16 minutes, 44 seconds. He had an overall finish of three hours, 43 minutes, and 46 seconds.
This was Griffin's third Ironman Timberman race, the previous two years he came in second place.
"Third time's a charm," Griffin said during the awards ceremony.
Griffin said had a flat tire during the bike race and did not expect to win. Tassone –Indeck said the projected first place winner Andy Potts then got a flat and ended up finishing fourth.
"I had a little bit of luck on my side," Griffin said. "There was definitely an opportunity to grab the win and I did."
Overall, Griffin said it was a great race.
"New Hampshire is such a beautiful spot," Griffin said. "Great race, great organization overall."
He said in the past couple years, he has made some friends and connected with some sponsors from this race. He also thanked the volunteers and everyone who helped out with the race.
"I'll definitely be back for number four," Griffin said. "I've got two seconds, maybe I'll have two firsts."
Igor Amarelli of Brazil was the overall second place finisher and the second place finisher in the men's division.
Chris Leiferman of Boulder, Colo. was the third place finisher, Andy Potts of Brooklyn, N.Y. took fourth place, Travis Hawkins of Brooklyn, N.Y. came in fifth, and Matthew Curbeau of Natick, Mass. came in sixth in men and seventh overall.
Melissa Hauschildt was the top female finisher and the sixth place finisher overall. The 31-year-old from Queensland completed the swim in 26 minutes, 41 seconds; the bike in two hours, 21 minutes, and two seconds and the run in one hour, 22 minutes, and 39 seconds for a total finish time of four hours, 12 minutes, and 52 seconds.
Hauschildt said there was one moment when she was biking and was convinced she was at least in second place. Then she looked up and realized she was in first.
Hauschildt congratulated everyone who took part in the race and made it the success it was.
"The race wouldn't go ahead without you guys," Hauschildt said.
She also congratulated her fellow competitors.
"Congratulations to everyone who competed today, well done," Hauschildt said.
The second place women's finisher was Linsey Corbin from Oregon. Valentina Carvallo of Argentina placed third, Amanda Stevens of Oklahoma took fourth place, Dede Griesbauer of Boulder, Colo. came in fifth, and Kirsty Smith of New York was sixth.
The top three finishers in each age group were eligible to go to the Zell am See-Kaprun world championships in Austria. If any members of the top three were not present at the awards subsequent athletes would be named down the list.
Timberman has partnered with the Make-A-Wish Foundation for several years. Tassone-Indeck said the partnership has raised around $300,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
On Saurday night, kids took part in a Make-A-Wish fun run and a number of athletes raced for Make-A-Wish. Make-A-Wish also had a special spot in the VIP section and one of the pro athletes signed autographs at their table.
"It's been a long standing relationship, I work very closely with them," Tassone-Indeck said.
The next Timberman will take place the third week of August in 2015.