Mark Watson of Fort Wayne, admittedly a newbie to the triathlon circuits, rallied from way back to win the event at 1:07:47. With a smile from ear to ear hovering over his ‘Men of Steel’ racing outfit, Watson was ecstatic to be called champion.
“I’m pretty new to the sport,” said Watson after the race. “Swimming was my weakest link. I really picked it up on the bike and made up some ground on some really good runners ahead of me. About a mile-and-a-half into the run I really felt like I had to reel it in and not look back. That last mile really felt good.”
Watson stated he had participated in triathlons for just one year and ran his first at the 2011 Wawasee Kiwanis Triathlon. “I was really impressed with my time. I had no expectations coming into it, and to be able to do what I did this morning is a great feeling.”
Watson was just the 33rd male swimmer to enter the transition area, but rode the fifth-fastest bike leg at 37:03 and ran a 19:27 5K – the fastest run of the triathlon – to claim the title. David Martin, who had the fastest bike leg at 35:40, fell off the pace at 22:31 during the run and finished as runner-up at 1:08:50.
While sharing handshakes and strategy notes with several competitors he passed during the 3.3-mile run, including Adam McComb who was the first biker out of the transition area onto the road course, Watson couldn’t help but keep an eye on the finish line as his teammate and coach, Diana Schowe of Auburn, sped in.
Schowe, no stranger to triathlons having run six already this year, made up six places after the swim to ride a 34:10 bike leg, more than six minutes faster than Cindy Ehlen’s next fastest time. Schowe didn’t let the lead disappear, running 24:47 to finish at 1:09:36, more than eight minutes ahead of Ehlen’s runner-up time of 1:17:52.
Schowe won the 2011 Wawasee Kiwanis Triathlon at 1:10:58 while Ben Cooper, the 2011 champion in the men’s race at 1:05:15, was seventh this year at 1:12:24.
“Usually I fly on the bike, but I had to be careful with the disc so I wouldn’t flip the bike,” Schowe said. Her bike was equipped with a racing disc on the back tire, which Schowe said if it caught the wind in the wrong way would cause the bike to lift.
“I’m really happy to know that Mark did so well,” the proud coach Schowe said. “It is a good feeling to know that the work we put in is paying off.”
Schowe revealed running the triathlon Saturday was part of her training for the running of the Chicago Triathlon in two weeks. Schowe has been participating in triathlons for six years.
The triathlon had 165 registrants and 153 bibs issued this year.
Men’s Top 10
1. Mark Watson 1:07:47
2. David Martin 1:08:50
3. Adam McComb 1:09:15
4. Gene Crusie 1:10:06
5. Andrew Gritzmaker 1:10:52
6. Tyler Smith 1:11:22
7. Ben Cooper 1:12:24
8. John White 1:12:27
9. Roland Ousley 1:12:30
10. Rick Hetler 1:13:35
Women’s Top 10
1. Diana Schowe 1:09:36
2. Cindy Ehlen 1:17:52
3. Emily Loveless 1:18:34
4. Brenda Worrell 1:21:02
5. Kristen Long 1:22:26
6. Stephanie Wilson 1:22:38
7. Molly Shoup 1:22:57
8. Dana Baker 1:23:01
9. Mary Thacker 1:23:13
10. Krista Shoemaker 1:23.41
For complete race results, visit www.runnersedgeracetiming.com.