LANGLEY — Drew Magill of Sammamish won the 12th annual South Whidbey Triathlon on Saturday with a time of 1 hour, 30 minutes and 11.3 seconds.
Stacia McInnes from Bellevue was the first woman across the line in 1:39:35.8.
“I had no problems today on this very scenic course,” Magill said. “The fact that the Whidbey triathlon isn’t point-to-point makes it more of an adventure and unique to triathlons. And the bike route is the best of the 50 or so triathlons I’ve been involved with.”
The race started on the dot at 9 a.m. with a half-mile swim in Goss Lake, then a 19.6-mile bike ride that ended in Community Park on Maxwelton Road. A 3.2 -mile run through the park’s trails completed the event for the 270 entrants.
Hundreds of family, friends and supporters cheered racers at the finish line.
Joshua Fitchitt was second for the men with 1:30:52.0, and Langley’s Peter Oakley third at 1:32:42.8.
Keri Fezzey of Coupeville placed second for the women with 1:42:29.1. Langley’s Challis Stringer was third for the women with 1:43:27.9.
Fezzey has been second or third for the last five years.
“It’s always my goal to win every year,” she said. “I came out of the water in fifth behind Challis but passed her with about a mile left to go on the run. The cool, cloudy weather helped me, so I’m feeling pretty good today. Next year, I plan to win. Absolutely.”
Most racers had positive comments about the course, the organization — compliments of race director Carrie Monforte and the South Whidbey Parks & Recreation District — and the friendly attitudes they encountered.
There were a few glitches related to course directions, but they were quickly solved.
Not everyone’s day was perfect, however. Stringer had been having stomach problems possibly due to an inner ear infection since the night before.
“I’ve never thrown up before, even on Ironman runs, but I did today on my bicycle,” she said. “I’m still a little dizzy.”
Parks Commissioner Don Wood was stationed at the bike-to-run transition area, making sure everyone who crossed the line activated their automatic timing chips.
“This event really brings the community together in a positive way,” he said. “We have over
100 volunteers, from teens to seniors helping out and their spirit is always high.”
Fitchitt, from Bellevue, heard about the race from friends and was in fact the first runner across the finish line, but the staggered start at Goss Lake altered the outcome.
“This was a great experience,” he said. “The water was perfect and the hills just challenging enough. I’ll be back next year, to win.”
Oakley and Ron Vollbrecht weren’t even breathing hard after crossing the line.
“It really is a fun course, and I don’t know why I’ve never done this before,” Vollbrecht said. “Starting at one place and ending up at another; I’ve never done that before, but it works.”
Oakley said having the race start in “waves,” each one four minutes apart, meant the lake wasn’t as crowded as in previous years.
Curt Gordon didn’t finish as well as last year — he’s been busy campaigning for county commissioner.
“On the other hand, I was more rested, so it all works out,” he said.
As expected, the swim was hardest for Frazer Mann. “It isn’t my best event,” he noted. “And the run is difficult because it comes last.”
“I guess I’m a biker at heart,” he added.
Mark Hodson biked as a member of a relay team put together with Allison Miller, who swam, and Mark Eager, who ran.
“That Saratoga Road climb is tough, and by the time I started the second loop I was worried,” Hodson said. “These guys who do it all are amazing.”
County assessor Dave Mattens finished with a personal best this year. He has been training hard with early morning swims and riding his bike to work in Coupeville.
“I beat my pathetic swim time from last year, so that was a big help,” he said.
His kids formed their own relay team. Michela Mattens swam.
“Driest water I ever swam in,” she said. Her brother Aren rode a neighbor’s bike and her other brother, Evan, ran.
There was a slight rivalry between Dave and Aren as the race progressed.
“I almost took out a rope and lassoed you when you passed me out there,” Mattens joked to his son.
This was Jeff Beltramini’s fourth time at Race the Rock, but not since 2005.
“This has been a comeback year for me, but this course just gets better and better,” he said. “I can really tell the organizers try hard to make the event as smooth as possible.
“Tough bike ride, but I had a great time.”
Many racers from the mainland planned to spend some time on Whidbey before heading home, music to the ears of local merchants.
Magill brought his family along — wife Kari and sons Nicholas and Jake.
“We’re going to have some lunch here in town and go exploring,” Magill said.
For complete race results, visit www.swparks.org.