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White Mountain Triathletes climb new heights

William Crosby, age 84, crosses the finish line at Cannon Mountain's Peabody Lodge. (Photo by Justin Roshak) (click for larger version)
June 27, 2018
FRANCONIA—They ran, biked, and swam, up mountains, through windy forests, and across summer-cool lakes. At the end, they gasped, sweated, fell to the ground or raised their hands in the air.

The day was chilly and windy. Grit blew off the Peabody Lodge parking lot, down the highway, and into racers' eyes. After finishing, most donned windbreakers and sweaters. Perhaps the competitors welcomed a cooling ambience for their grueling endeavor. Regardless, it was a day that reminded all that ski season was only five months away.

The triathlon was intensely subdivided by age, gender, and course—an industry standard, explained Millennium Running founder John Mortimer, who said the delicate slicing into many sub-categories allowed everyone to compete against close equals.

Courses took the triathletes out along the base of Cannon Mountain to Echo Lake, where the main water events took place, but also up into Easton, Sugar Hill, and Bethlehem. The courses traverse some 4,000 feet of climb.

"The White Mountains Triathalon is not without ups and downs," Mortimer observed with a smile.

The youngest competitor was 16-year-old Matthew Reif from Painted Post, N.Y. He finished the Sprint in estimable time, at 2:03:16. The oldest was 84-year-old William Crosby from Hasting-on-Hudson, N.Y., who clocked in with 3:43:52, also on the Sprint event. Crosby crossed the finish line with more visible reserves of energy than men and women a third his age.

The top three in each age/gender/course subdivision won small saplings from a Vermont Christmas tree farm, presumably as a White Mountains-reminder to keep growing strong. First-placers won a jug from Woodstock Inn Brewery—though a few champions were too young to accept it. Local flavor was king: one business sponsor handed out 'maple water' as an energy drink substitute.

This was the White Mountains Triathalon's sixth year running; it was estimated that 400 participated, the largest turnout yet. One of the race's original founder, Jeff Cole, passed away earlier this year.

Ninety-eight percent of revenue comes from participant registration fees, according to event organizer Millennium Running, with the remainder from business sponsorships. A flat fee contribution of $4,500 will go to support this year's nonprofit partner, Franconia's Adaptive Sports of the North Country. The nonprofit, which provides sports accessibility to athletes of all abilities, pitched in with volunteers at the triathlon.

The top times were dominated by New Hampshire residents, but wildly diverse in age.

In the Olympic category, 50-year-old Jay Gump of Conway, Mass., ran away with a time of 2:04:54, followed by Swanzey, NH's Anthony Minickiello (age 17, time 2:08:23), and Portsmouth's Gabriel Dakowicz (age 31, time 2:09:32).

In the Half Iron category, 27-year old Sean McNeil of Canton, Mass., triumphed with a tie of 4:38:00. He was followed by fellow "elites" Kris Freeman (age 38, time 4:43:12) and Jay Glickman (age 34, time 4:54:03).

In the Sprint Relay, Team Cirque de Sore Legs dominated the two-team field with a time of 2:48:10.

In the Sprint, the most popular of the events, the overall leaders in the men's category was 17-year-old David Reynolds, of Andover, New Hampshire, who finished in 54 minutes and 15 seconds. Nashua's Christopher Wellman (age 29, time 1:00:29), and Seabrook's Bruce Butterworth (age 65, time 1:04:10) filled the second and third slots.

Among the women, Sprinter 19-year-old Jacqueline Boben, of Lancaster, PA, seized the top spot with a time of 1:05:39 (fifth overall). She narrowly beat out Eastham, MA's Katie McCully (age 53, time 1:05:55). Barrington, R.I.'s Kristen Martin (age 36, time 1:06:54) came in third.

This year was Millennium Running's second year organizing the White Mountain Triathalon. They have been put forward as potential partners for next year's planned GEAR race rally event in Littleton.

Martin Lord Osman
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