Sports

Triathlon brings hundreds of women to Steel Lake

Swimmers stand on the dock at Steel Lake Park Sunday morning in preparation for the start of the U.S. Women’s Triathlon. This is the fifth year in a row that the triathlon was held in Federal Way. (Below) Two women transition from the swim to the biking portion of the event.  - Casey Olson/staff photo
Swimmers stand on the dock at Steel Lake Park Sunday morning in preparation for the start of the U.S. Women’s Triathlon. This is the fifth year in a row that the triathlon was held in Federal Way. (Below) Two women transition from the swim to the biking portion of the event.
— image credit: Casey Olson/staff photo

The weather couldn’t have been any better for the fifth annual U.S. Women’s Triathlon at Steel Lake Park. It wasn’t too hot Sunday morning and it wasn’t too cold either, meaning it was the perfect mix for the 700 women who made their way to Federal Way.

The sun stayed behind cloud cover during the early morning swim portion of the U.S. Women’s Triathlon when waves of women jumped into the chilly water of Steel Lake. But the sun showed up a little later during the biking and swim portions of the three-event triathlon. The Federal Way race was the second stop on the four-city U.S. Women’s Triathlon series. A race was already held in the Chicago area, and two more races will be staged in Texas and San Diego later in the fall.

The Subaru race, unlike a lot of the bigger triathlons around the country, also got rave reviews from fans and participants because it featured one venue that was able to house transition areas for all three events — swim, bike and run — along with the finish line.

Last year, the Federal Way triathlon drew almost 600 participants for the race. The U.S. Women’s Triathlon offered athletes a choice of two different distances — a sprint competition (.75-kilometer swim, 19.5k bike, and 6.5k run, completed as an individual or relay team), and the super sprint competition (.375k swim, 13k bike, and 3.4k run).

The most impressive performance of Sunday was turned in by Bellingham’s Marti Reimer-Reiss. The 39-year-old Bellingham native finished the main event sprint course in 1 hour, 19:15 — over six minutes ahead of the second-place runner, Hallie Truswell of Seattle. Riemer-Reiss, who teaches in the graduate rehabilitation counseling program at Western Washington University, is a very strong runner. She finished in third place at the 2006 Seattle Half Marathon. Riemer-Reiss was in fifth place after the swim, moved up to second after the bike and blew away the competition in the run portion of Sunday’s triathlon.

The top local finisher for the second year in a row was 42-year-old Annie Ravenscroft from Federal Way. Ravenscroft finished 25th overall in a time of 1:38.31. Liberty Lake 34-year-old Heidi Reynolds won the super sprint event at Sunday’s triathlon in a time of 54:20. Federal Way’s Vickie Griffin, 57, finished seventh in a time of 1:03.07.

Puyallup resident Jennifer Block finished in third place overall at the U.S. Women’s Triathlon Sunday morning at Steel Lake Park. Block ended up with a time of 1:27.11. Block was competing in the race to rase awareness for Niemann-Pick disease, a rare neurological disease that affects primarily children and is always fatal. The vast majority of children with Niemann-Pick die before age 20 (and many die before the age of 10).

Block met 11-year-old Edgewood resident Ty Quandt, who suffers from Niemenn-Pick, after his mother contacted her after reading a newspaper article earlier this summer.

Block will also be competing in the 2008 Ironman World Triathlon Championships next month in Kona, Hawaii. The most prestigious triathlon in the world has competitors complete a grueling 140 total miles of competition, including a two-mile swim in the Pacific Ocean, a 112-mile bike ride and a complete 26.2-mile marathon run.

Block is hoping to raise at least $10,000 to fight Niemenn-Pick and is hosting a fundraising dinner from 4 to 9:30 p.m. at Mama Stortini’s Restaurant (3207 E. Main St.) in Puyallup on Oct. 2. To donate, visit www.race4ty.com.

Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565, sports@fedwaymirror.com

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