Jim Flint's Runners Roundup, Sports

Smyers Wins National Age Group Triathlon Medals

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photo by USA Triathlon
Donna Smyers was honored at the USA Triathlon Hall of Fame Gala as the Celeste Callahan Great Grandmasters Triathlete of the Year. Smyers, from Adamant, won multiple world and national triathlon championships during 2022. She went on to earn silver and gold medals at the 2023 USA Triathlon National Age Group Championships in Milwaukee.

by Jim Flint

MILWAUKEE – World champion triathlete Donna Smyers of Adamant added two national championship medals to her collection at the USA Triathlon Age Group Nationals on August 5-6. She finished second in the Olympic-Distance triathlon on August 5 and first in the Sprint-Distance triathlon the following day.

Smyers, 65, was familiar with the venue. This was the second consecutive year the National Age Group Championships were held in Milwaukee, and the sixth time (not consecutively) that Milwaukee hosted the multi-age event.

The Olympic-Distance triathlon event included a 1500m swim, 40k bike, and 10k run. Smyers completed the swim in 29:49. She came out of the water in fifth place for her age group. A quick transition to the bike leg moved her into third place.

Averaging 21.37 miles per hour cycling, Smyers pushed into second place. Her time for the bike leg was 1:13:57. She gained valuable seconds with a speedy transition to the run leg.

Smyers averaged 8:15 per mile for the run leg, the fastest pace among her age group cohorts. Her 10k time was 51:32. Julie Billingsley held on to win the gold medal for the F65-69 age group. She completed the triathlon in two hours, 35 minutes, and 42 seconds. Smyers brought home the silver medal with a 2:39:21 effort.

“We had moderate weather for both races – no rain and in the 70’s,” said Smyers. “I was slower than last year, since I haven’t been training as much this year.”

The Sprint-Distance triathlon included a 750m swim, 20k bike, and 5k run. Smyers was favored to win, as Billingsley and Sherburne opted out of the Sprint Triathlon. Fresh competitors were in the mix.

Smyers exited the water in fourth place after the swim leg. Her time was 14:37. Mastering the first transition, she moved into second place, two minutes and 35 seconds behind Lorrie Beck. Smyers powered through the bike portion in 36:43 to close the gap with Beck.

Coming out of the second transition zone, Smyers quickly jumped ahead and didn’t look back. Averaging 7:54 per mile, she finished the 5k leg in 24:28. She completed the triathlon in 1:20:04 to win the gold medal. Sandra Straup moved ahead of Beck to win the silver medal in 1:20:54. Beck brought home the bronze medal with a time of 1:21:32.

“I was especially pleased with my 5k run in the Sprint Triathlon,” said Smyers. “This was the last leg on the second day of racing. I ran about 20 seconds a mile faster than I did in the 10k run the day before.”

Smyers has competed in triathlon since 1985. She was inducted into the USA Triathlon Hall of Fame in 2018. In October 2022, Smyers won the Ironman world championship triathlon for the F65-69 age group. On August 3, at the USA Triathlon Hall of Fame Gala event, Smyers was honored as the Celeste Callahan Great Grandmasters Triathlete of the Year.

Cate Farm Tomato Trot Goes On

PLAINFIELD ̶ Flood waters from the Winooski River reached the Cate Family Farm on July 11, breaking records. The family’s living spaces and upland farm outbuildings escaped the flood. Their barn’s basement and contents were covered in silt. A crop of burdock root was lost, along with a pepper patch, giant pumpkin plants, and the family garden plot in the lower field.

The Cate Farm’s tomato greenhouses were located on higher ground, untouched by the flood waters. Farmer Richard Wiswall was determined that the Second Annual Cate Farm Tomato Trot 5k would go on. Sixty runners turned out on August 12 to support the farm and enjoy the scenic trail run through fields and on woods roads.

“I spent many extra hours making the course safe to run, and it was still a little slippery in places,” said Wiswall.

Maxfield English, from Wolcott, led a cohort of local runners to the finish line. English won the race in 20:58. His time was slightly slower than his 20:33 winning effort last year. Luke Miller placed second in 23:50.

Addie Hedges was the fastest female finisher. She placed third overall, in 25:41. Rose Modry, from Greensboro, finished fourth in 25:59. Farmer Richard Wiswall joined in the run, placing 11th in 31:29.

“I love the community gathering aspect of the race, and the post-race hang out time,” said Wiswall. “The course is scenic, challenging and fun. Thank goodness the weather was nice on race day. It all worked out just fine in the end.”

Bear Crawl 5k Draws Big Crowd

DANVILLE ̶ The Bear Crawl 5k fun run-walk on August 5 drew a huge field of 95 runners and walkers hailing from 11 different states. Participation was up from 57 entries at the 2022 event.

Hayden Bunnell, 30, from St. Johnsbury, won by more than a quarter mile. Bunnell, who coaches cross country at Danville High School, blitzed the course in 15:56. He improved on his 16:11 winning time at last year’s race. Pascal Deppisch, 19, from Danville finished second in 17:25.

Jessica Royer, 19, from Hardwick, won the women’s division in 21:22. Royer was a standout in cross country and track and field during her four years on the Hazen Union varsity squads. Willa Mantius, 10, from Danville was the second-fastest female finisher. Mantius, completed the 5k course in 22:35.

Several runners from towns covered by the Hardwick Gazette went the distance in the 5k race. Martin Glassford, 20, from Marshfield, finished 17th, in 21:45. Andrew Drageset, 21, from Craftsbury, placed 22nd, in 22:45.

Tim Hogeboom, 72, from Walden, was the fastest male finisher over age 60. Hogeboom came in 36th overall, in 25:18. Montpelier’s Dot Martin, 62, won the age 60+ female division. She placed 39th in 25:33.

Craftsbury’s Angela Pion, 34, and Walden senior Elizabeth McCarthy, 70, placed 40th and 47th respectively. Their 5k times were 25:45 and 29:20.

The fun run-walk kicked off the 92nd annual Danville Fair, a one-day event held on the Danville Green.

Berlin Pond Five Miler August 17

BERLIN – The Forty-third Annual Berlin Pond Five Mile Race is set for Thursday, Aug. 17, at 6 p.m. Presented by Central Vermont Runners, the dirt-road race takes runners on a rolling loop around Berlin Pond. Registration and bib pickup are available at the Berlin Town Offices on Shed Road in Berlin. The course starts and finishes on Brookfield Road, a half-mile walk from the town offices. The entry fee is $15, with details at cvrunners.org. The race is part of the Central Vermont Runners / Onion River Outdoors annual race series.

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