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Athletes race around the Lakes Region during Timberman Triathlon

Athletes run the two lap 13.1-mile course through Ellacoya state park and along the shore of Lake Winnipesaukee. (Jeff Ferland) (click for larger version)
August 24, 2011
The race was on as athletes from across the country and around the world swam, biked and ran throughout the Lakes Region for the Sunday, Aug. 21 Timberman Ironman 70.3 triathlon.

The August heat and humidity rose through the day as athletes completed the half-Ironman distance race.

Athletes dove into the cool calm water of Winnipesaukee at Ellacoya State Park for a 1.2-mile swim to kick off the morning. After the swim, they hopped on their bikes for a 56-mile tour from Ellacoya to Route 106 in Belmont, and back for a 13.1-mile run along the Winnipesaukee shoreline.

The Timberman attracts athletes from all over the world, including pro athletes Rasmus Henning of Denmark, who holds the record for the fifth fastest Ironman time and finished first in the men's division, and triple world Ironman champion Chrissie Wellington of England, who finished first in the woman's division.

Wellington edged out local pro Cait Snow of Massachusetts, who finished second in the women's division.

"We are very lucky to attract a world-class field," said Adam Reiser, race announcer, as he introduced the athletes for the pro-panel. "Good pros attract good pros."

Before the race, on Saturday, the three pros, Henning, Wellington and Snow, took some time to answer questions and give advice to other athletes at the Gunstock lodge.

They all admitted that even the pro athletes get a little nervous before a big race.

"I get the butterflies for sure. I love the anxiety and pressure," said Henning. "The day I don't feel that, I should hang the bike in the back of the garage and try something else."

Wellington and Snow agreed that the anxiety comes with every race.

"I don't sleep well the night before a race. I don't think any pro does," said Wellington.

Snow agreed that if an athlete doesn't feel nervous before the start, it does not hold enough mean.

Wellington urged athletes to believe in themselves to help pull them through the race. She stressed the importance of mental training, as well as physical training, especially when racing with an injury.

"The key is to have faith in your preparation," said Wellington. "You can't expect strategy for dealing with pain to just appear on race day."

They gave advice the first time half-Ironman racers.

"Don't pay much attention to what's going on around you," said Wellington. "You've done your own training. Race your own race at the pace you've trained. My most important piece of advice: Enjoy it."

They all agreed that athletes should not judge their success by their race time. Instead, they should measure their success by how much they put into the race; whether they trained properly and gave all they had during the race.

The Timberman race was organized by Audra Tassone and Keith Jordan, but Jordan said they could not have done it without the community support.

"The volunteer support is the life-blood of the event. Our community support grows every year," said Jordan. "The police have done a fantastic job. It's been great. We've had good weather it's been a fantastic summer

Salmon Press
Martin Lord Osman
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