Athletes from all over the Northwest tested their speed and endurance on South Whidbey last weekend.
Nearly 300 men and women took up the challenge of the seventh annual Whidbey Island Race the Rock Triathlon Saturday morning, swimming, biking and running a challenging 23.8-mile course.
Overcast skies kept temperatures pleasant for the event, and a hotter than normal July warmed the waters of Lone Lake to the mid-70s for the half-mile swimming event. Swimmers were started from the water in three waves; the best swimmers first.
Swimmers exited where they started to switch to bicycles for a 19.5-mile ride on Lone Lake Road to Saratoga Road, then through Langley to South Whidbey Community Park.
The final leg was a 3.8-mile run which began on dirt trails inside the park to Langley and Maxwelton roads.The finish line was in the center of the park’s soccer field.
South Whidbey’s super triathlete Peter Oakley won the event for the fourth consecutive year, beating his time last year by one minute to come in at 1:29.17. He was also winner of the men’s age 40-44 division.
Awesome female athlete Marti Riemer-Reiss was the overall women’s winner and winner in the 30-to-34 division. Her time was 1:33.41, seven minutes faster than the second place winner, Stacia McInnes at 1:41.18. Riemer-Reiss’s time last year was 1:36.08.
Nate Reiss won the men’s 35-39 division in 1:35.24.
Chivalry was alive and well during the final leg of the event as Curt Gordon let Riemer-Reiss in front of him at the beginning of the run.
Gordon, who competed in the Iron Man Triathlon in Hawaii last year came in second in the men’s 45 to 49 division with a time of 1:33:36.
South Whidbey athletes, Ryan Reed and Triff Lebaron carried first and second place, respectively for men age 20 to 24.
Patricia Buchanan won the women’s age 50 to 54 division, in 1:58:14. Buchanan credits her win to wearing the same clothes for the entire event.
“I always lost time during the transitions, so this year I put shyness aside and wore my swimming suit for all three events,” Buchanan said.
Clinton resident Frazer Mann won his division, 55 to 59 with a 1:47:42.
This was the first year sponsor, South Whidbey Parks and Recreation District used a chip timer system. Competitors wore Velcro bracelets with timers and as they crossed pads at the beginning and ending of each event their time was calculated and stored. Compeitiors knew their times by 4:30 p.m. the same day of the event.