Karl Blattmann’s triathlon gambit paid off Sunday.
It was the Teslin man’s first triathlon and he entered the Olympic distance category. And he won the male division of the 2011 Whitehorse Fun Triathlon.
He finished with a time of two hours, 10 minutes and five seconds, almost nine minutes ahead of second place Judson Deuling, who was third last year.
Last year’s Olympic men’s champion, Ian Parker, was absent from the triathlon, deciding to focus on cycling this summer.
“It was a lot of fun,” said Blattmann. “My pacings all went according to plan, I didn’t have any technical problems, or anything like that, so it was just a great day.
“Having never gotten off a bike and then run 10-kilometes like this, I found it very challenging. I was having some problems with cramping and general pain, so that slowed me down a bit.
“The run was definitely the hardest part.”
In his win Blattmann was fastest on the bike and in the run, but second in the pool, which makes sense. Blattmann is a common fixture in the expert class at VeloNorth Cycling Club events, coming second in the grueling Skagway Hill Climb a couple weeks ago.
He also finished second in the half-marathon open men’s division at last year’s Yukon River Trail and was on the winning Scarecrow team at last year’s Klondike Trail of ‘98 International Road Relay, the first Yukon team – and the first Canadian team – to win the open division in 17 years.
“I’ve been running for a couple of years, doing some half-marathons, and was running all winter with friends from around Whitehorse,” said Blattmann. “I’ve been training for a triathlon for about six or seven months, and have been swimming since December.
“I’m pretty new to swimming.”
The Olympic women’s division also saw a new champion crowned.
Whitehorse’s Maura Sullivan took first with a time of 2:30:14, 31 seconds off her second-place time from last year, but still seven minutes up from Kerrie Paterson in second and 11 minutes up from Laura Salmon in third.
“I had a good run, which I like to do most,” said Sullivan, who was fastest for women in the pool and on the run. “The swim was OK – last year it took me a lot longer in transitions, and this year I worked on that a little bit. It’s just the bike that long.”
Sullivan also won last year’s Dry-Tri and the open women’s half-marathon at the Yukon River Trail.
Though fast, Sullivan would have had a tougher go of it, had last year’s Olympic women’s winner, Colleen Latham, been in the race. Latham, who finished 10th in Canada for women at last year’s national championships, is focusing on competitions this fall and did not want to interfere with her training schedule.
“Colleen wasn’t in the race this year and she definitely would have beat me had she been,” said Sullivan.
Taking the Olympic team, and also coming in with a very healthy lead, were The Dirty Hockey Players, with Hayley Marton-Beales in the pool, Ron Sumanik on the bike and Tom Ullyett taking care of the run. The team completed the course in 2:15:32, 13:26 in front of the second place team.
“Ron and I both play in the Whitehorse Oldtimers League and we’re both despised players because we both collect a lot of penalties – dirty penalties,” said Ullyett. “We don’t have any talent, but people talk about us behind our backs because we are such arseholes on the ice.
“Fortunately our swimmer Hayley – formally of the swim team and the Canada Games – didn’t mind the name.
“What was nice was everyone ran their estimated time. It’s easy to have a team and compete if everyone does what they said they were going to do.”
In the race, Olympic participants had to complete 1,500-metres (60 laps) in the Canada Games Centre pool, followed by a 40-kilometre cycle along the Alaska Highway, back to the centre on Hamilton Boulevard, doing three loops, before a 10-kilometre run. For the sprint divisions it was 500 metres in the pool, 27-kilometres – or two loops – in the cycle and a five-kilometre run.
Other than an slightly altered running route, the only other change was the name. Formally the Whitehorse Triathlon – minus the newly added ‘Fun’ – organizers hoped a less competitive sounding name would bring in more participants.
“We wanted it to be all-encompassing and not have it completely competitive,” said Krysta Morz, an organizer of the event. “We wanted families to feel they could compete, younger people to feel like they could compete, and to just have a fun event.”
Top five individual results
1st Maura Sullivan – 2:30:14
2nd Kerrie Paterson – 2:37:23
3rd Laura Salmon – 2:41:44
4th Kim Schlosser – 2:47:20
5th Nadele Flynn – 2:50:56
1st Karl Blattmann – 2:10:05
2nd Judson Deuling – 2:18:54
3rd Stefan Wackerhagen – 2:22:57
4th Spencer Sumanik – 2:23:38
5th John Berryman – 2:28:57
1st Angie MacNeil – 1:31:51
2nd Christine Smith – 1:37:16
3rd Heather Pilsworth – 1:41:14
4th Emily Wale – 1:42:20
5th Alison Perrin – 1:43:00
1st Scott May – 1:25:21
2nd Lars Jessup – 1:25:40
3rd Nathan Millar – 1:31:48
4th Terry Joss – 1:34:05
5th Skyler Hougen – 1:34:42
Sprint senior males
1st Dean MacKey – 1:52:45
2nd Scott Henderson – 1:56:42
Contact Tom Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org