When is draft-legal coming to a #triathlon or #duathlon near you?

running-advice-bugLots of my age-group duathlon buddies have expressed surprise and a bit of consternation about draft-legal racing on the bike coming to our part of the sport. I’ve talked to a number of people that have said they don’t feel that draft-legal racing will be safe and they want to avoid those races that head that way, but here’s the thing: draft-legal is coming. We all need to start thinking about it.

Draft-legal is coming, are you ready?

Draft-legal is coming, are you ready?

Draft-legal racing has been the norm at the elite ITU level for some time now. Many people may not realize that it has also been the norm for juniors and Under 23 (U23) as well, essentially training a whole new generation of athletes as youngsters to learn how to race draft-legal. Outside of the United States, draft-legal is not frowned upon as it seems to be here. In the US, we seem to have been trained to “hate” drafting on the bike as that’s been the rule since the beginning of the sport for most races here.

The International Triathlon Union (ITU), which is the governing body of the sport, has started moving individual age-group events to draft-legal racing. Starting in 2016, the ITU Sprint Triathlon and Duathlon World Championships will both be draft-legal. This means that drafting will be legal in ITU races for elite, junior, U23, and age-groupers — that is for all but paratriathlon/paraduathlon. It’s already legal for all distances of winter-triathlon and cross-triathlon. This just leaves the standard (or “Olympic”) distance and longer distances races.

Clearly this feels like a test to see how age-groupers do with draft-legal racing at the shorter distance. But the writing feels like it is on the wall that the standard distance won’t be far behind.

Now, the ITU doesn’t govern all triathlons and duathlons. Many are sanctioned by national bodies like USA Triathlon or organizations like Ironman or local organizers. But again, it feels like national bodies will begin to follow suit to get their athletes ready for the overall change in the sport, so we should see national bodies start re-framing these rules sooner rather than later.
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USAT Duathlon Nationals 2014 Held in St Paul #USATDU14 #triathlon

running-advice-bugST. PAUL, Minn. — Matthew Payne and Kirsten Sass captured overall standard-distance titles while Nathan Hoffman and Patty Peoples-Resh raced their way to overall sprint titles at the 2014 Life Time USA Triathlon Duathlon National Championships, held Saturday at Harriet Island Regional Park.

Nathan Hoffman wins 2014 overall Sprint Duathlon title

Nathan Hoffman wins 2014 overall Sprint Duathlon title

Nathan Hoffman (South Haven, Minn.) posted the fastest time of the day in the sprint race at Duathlon Nationals. (Photo: Mario Cantu/CIMAGES)

Payne (Columbia Heights, Minn.) clocked in at 1 hour, 16 minutes, 25 seconds on the 4.6-kilometer run, 31.2-kilometer bike, 4.4-kilometer run to claim the overall victory as well as the male 35-39 age group title. Dave Slavinski (Point Pleasant, N.J.) posted a time of 1:16:46 for second overall and first in the male 40-44 age group and masters division. Thomas Woods (Lincoln, Neb.), also in the 40-44 age group, was third overall in 1:17:35.

“Really, I would say we have the most competitive duathlon scene anywhere right here,” Payne said. “I knew if I had a good race, I had a shot. Any time you get something like this in your backyard, you have to do it.”

Sass (McKenzie, Tenn.) was the top finisher for the women, picking up the women’s overall title along with the win in the female 35-39 age group, finishing in 1:25:10. Dani Fischer (Wausau, Wis.) was second overall after a penalty set her finish time back to 1:26:06, which was still solid enough for the female 25-29 age group championship, and Brenda Williams (Cornville, Ariz.) sealed her female masters and 40-44 wins in 1:27:46, finishing third overall.

“I was hoping for a good day out there and just gave it what I had,” Sass said. “It’s a very supportive environment and that’s what drew me to triathlon in the first place, and that goes for duathlon as well. Everybody is out there encouraging everybody else, and I just think that’s incredible.”
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US Duathlon National Championships Head to St. Paul #USATDU14 #triathlon

running-advice-bugNearly 650 athletes from 44 states and Washington, D.C., are on the start list for this Saturday’s 2014 Life Time USA Triathlon Duathlon National Championships, held in St. Paul, Minnesota, at Harriett Island Regional Park. The race will be held on July 19, 2014.

Joe English will attempt to repeat in the Sprint Distance Championship in 2014

Joe English will attempt to repeat in the Sprint Distance Championship in 2014

After a three-year stint in Tucson/Oro Valley, Arizona, St. Paul will host the best duathletes in the country this weekend and again in 2015. Age-group duathletes and paraduathletes will race their way to national titles in both standard-distance (4.6-kilometer run, 31.2-kilometer bike, 4.4-kilometer run) and sprint-distance (2.9k run, 20.8k bike, 2.7k run) events. Races will begin at 7:30 a.m. CT on July 19 with the standard-distance race, followed by the sprint race at 11:45 a.m. CT. Visit usatriathlon.org/du14 for complete event details, and follow the race live at usatriathlon.org/du14coverage.

Twenty-three returning national champions highlight the field in Saturday’s races:

Sprint Defending Champions
Michael Ashworth (M30-34, Jersey City, N.J.)
Margaret Bomberg (F75-79, Chico, Calif.)
Celia Dubey (F40-44, Tarpon Springs, Fla.)
Joe English (M40-44, Hillsboro, Ore.)
Terry Habecker (M65-69, Ithaca, N.Y.)**
Janet Jarvits (F45-59, Pasadena, Calif.)
Heysoon Lee (F70-74, Morristown, N.J.)**
David Morrow (M60-64, Tarpon Springs, Fla.)
Patty Peoples-Resh (F55-59, Redlands, Calif.)
Kristin Villopoto (F50-54, Chapel Hill, N.C.)
Timothy Winslow (M19U, Elk Grove, Calif.)**
Standard-Distance Defending Champions
Andy Ames (M50-54, Boulder, Colo.)
Donald Ardell (M75-79, St. Petersburg, Fla.)
Jason Atkinson (M30-34, Alamogordo, N.M.)
David Burkhart (M60-64, Brighton, Mich.)
Kirsten Chapman (F50-54, Edmond, Okla.)
Kerry Mayer (M65-69, Brookfield, Wis.)
Robert Powers (M90+, White Bear Lake, Minn.)
Erica Ruge (F40-44, Rhinebeck, N.Y.)
Jennifer Scudiero (F30-34 and female overall winner, Eagan, Minn.)
Dave Slavinski (M40-44, Point Pleasant, N.J.)
Chelsea VanCott (F20-24, Oceanside, Calif.)*
Keith Woodward (M60-64, Stowe, Vt.)

*Indicates athlete is racing in the sprint event
**Indicates athlete is racing in the standard-distance event

Duathlon Nationals is the sole qualifying event for the age-group 2015 Standard- and Sprint-Distance ITU Duathlon World Championships in Adelaide, South Australia, on Oct. 14-18, 2015. The top 18 finishers in each age group, rolling down to 25th place, will qualify for Team USA.

Team USA is comprised of the nation’s top multisport athletes who represent the U.S. at each ITU World Championships event. Visit usatriathlon.org for more on Team USA.

In addition to the weekend’s races, USA Triathlon and local St. Paul shop TrüBerry Frozen Yogurt have partnered to collect unwanted sneakers this week through July 19. Donated shoes will be given to Listening House of St. Paul, a day/evening shelter and community resource center that provides hospitality, practical assistance and counsel to people who are homeless, disadvantaged or lonely. Shoes may be dropped at 949 Grand Avenue in St. Paul, and those donating shoes will receive a buy one, get one free item from TrüBerry.

Source: USA Triathlon
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2013 Long-Course Duathlon Nationals (Mt. Rainier Duathlon) Course Preview

running-advice-bugWith the 2013 Long Course Duathlon Nationals (AKA Mt. Rainier Duathlon) coming up next weekend, I spent some time riding and running the courses yesterday to give you a sneak preview and some advice on how to approach the course.

UP7512_2013 NtnlChampLogo_LongCourseDU_DateI’ll start by saying that there is a lot about this course that I like and I think that everyone should find something that they like about it. The course offers a great deal of variety, but is not highly technical. The hill climbing on the bike will favor strong riders, but there is enough other terrain to help even that out a bit as well. In short, I think this is a fair race course and should be good for well rounded athletes.

Run Course 1: At just over five miles (5.12), this course isn’t quite a 10K but is long enough that it should slow down the sprinters a bit. Looking at this on the map, I thought that it would be totally flat, but the race organizers managed to find the one hill in this part of town to incorporate into the course. The hill starts after a hard left turn right at the 3 mile mark and climbs quickly up a rolling set of inclines. The hill is short but steep and I think this is going to separate the girls from the women so to speak. If anyone has gone out too fast, they will pay for it here. There is a nice recovery coming back down the other side of the hill and then the course flattens back out in the last mile.

My advice as always is to pace yourself wisely in the first run. Your running pace should be a pace (effort level) that you can keep up for the entire duathlon — not just for that first run. Most people go out way to fast in the first run. Remember that you have a lot of riding to do after you transition, so take it easy. Work your way up the hill and then use the down hill to recover and get yourself set for the transition as you come back to the start/finish area.

Bike Course: The meat of this race is going to be on the bike. At 28.88 miles this feels quite short for a “long course” race, however, the hilly terrain makes it challenging and it will feel longer. I think the way to mentally approach this course is to divide the laps into three segments: 1) the first portion of the race until you hit the bottom of the climb (0-6 miles), 2) the climb (miles 6-8), and 3) the recovery and descent (miles 8-14). You’ll do two laps of the course.
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Duathlon — Parish and Kattouf Take 2012 National Duathlon Titles

running-advice-bugORO VALLEY, Ariz. – Patrick Parish and Gail Kattouf clinched overall national titles in the standard-distance event, while Greg McNeil and Patty Peoples won the sprint-distance race Saturday at USA Triathlon’s 2012 Duathlon National Championship, presented by TriSports.com.

Patty Peoples wins 2012 Sprint Duathlon Championship (Dave Sanders, USAT)

Parish (Bloomington, Minn.) was the top U.S. finisher on the 5-kilometer run, 35-kilometer bike, 5-kilometer run course with a time of 1:23:06. He finished 12 seconds behind overall winner Lionel Sanders of Ontario, Canada, who clocked in at 1:22:54. Matthew Payne (Columbia Heights, Minn.) was third in 1:25:42, and last year’s overall champion Dave Slavinski logged a time of 1:25:50 to finish fourth overall and round out the national championship podium.

“I knew a few people would take it out hard,” said Parish, who ran at Duke University in college. “I just wanted to relax through the first run, and catch everybody on the bike and see if I could close.” Parish also claimed the 25-29 age group title and posted a 49:03 bike split, which was the fastest bike split of the day in the standard-distance event.

Defending champion Kattouf (Greenville, S.C.) bested the women’s field by nearly three minutes, taking the tape with a time of 1:37:00. She led the women’s field after the first run, with a 5k split of 19:02.

“Today I left it all out on the course,” Kattouf said. “I was really pleased with how the race went down. I knew going into transition I had a couple minutes lead, and then I cruised on the run.” In addition to her 2011 national title, Kattouf won a world title and plans to defend later this year in Nancy, France.
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Multi-Sport — National Champions Crowned at 2011 Duathlon National Champs

running-advice-bugORO VALLEY, Ariz. – Nicole LaSelle and Matthew Russell captured the elite national titles, and Gail Kattouf and Dave Slavinski were the top overall age-groupers Saturday April 30th at USA Triathlon’s 2011 Duathlon National Championship.

Mathew Russell Leads the 2011 USAT National Championship

Russell (Austin, Texas) claimed his second career elite duathlon national title and first since 2008 with a time of 1 hour, 22 minutes, 38 seconds on the 5-kilometer run, 35-kilometer bike and 5-kilometer run course.

Competing at Duathlon Nationals for the first time, LaSelle (Dayton, Ohio) was the second female elite to cross the finish line in 1:36:08. Germany’s Angela Axmann, who resides in Phoenix, Ariz., was the overall women’s winner in 1:34:10.

Russell was sixth – and 35 seconds off the pace – after the first run. He grabbed the lead on the bike and held on to the advantage with a 17:03 5k on the second run. He finished nearly three minutes ahead of Canada’s Lionel Sanders, who was the No. 2 overall finisher in 1:25:23. Justin Hurd (Boulder, Colo.) finished third overall in 1:25:54, and Joshua Merrick (Alamosa, Colo.) crossed the line fourth overall in 1:26:16 to round out the national championship podium.

“I wasn’t sure where my speed was,” said Russell, who has raced four out of the last five weekends. “My strength is my bike right now, so I pulled away and that’s where I got the win – off the bike.” Russell caught the leaders on the first 2-3 miles of the bike and slowly pulled away heading into T2.


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Multi-sport – 2011 Duathlon Nationals Course Preview

running-advice-bugThe 2011 USA Triathlon Duathlon National Championship is coming up this weekend on April 30th in Oro Valley outside of Tucson, Arizona. This is the first year that the race has traveled here, so it is with great anticipation that many athletes are arriving in town this week. We had a chance to preview the bike and run courses over the last two days and we found that they will be challenging, even difficult, and will favor all-around athletes more than athletes who are strong solely in running or cycling.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about both courses is that they have almost no flat ground in the them. In fact, the two trips on the run course will feature are large downhill and a steep uphill to the finish. This combination will require runners to pace themselves on the downhills and could provide strong hill-runners an opportunity to make substantial gains on the closing hill. The cycling course is equally challenging will one long uphill section, a high speed section that ends with a hard right turn, and then another downhill section that will have riders reaching for their biggest gears. The sweeping arc of the cycling course also will move any wind around the riders, giving them a dose of wind equally from every direction.

For course maps, click here.

Run Course
The first run course begins across the street from Ventana Medical Systems in Innovation Park and heads about ¼ mile north-west on Innovation Park Drive toward Rancho Vistosio Blvd. This opening quarter is just slightly inclined. Reaching the right hand corner onto Rancho Vistosio, the course flattens out for one of only two flat stretches on the course for less than ½ mile and then does a u-turn back toward the start. The outbound section is running roughly south-west so runners will be facing the sun. The course retraces backwards, hitting the first mile mark just about at the corner of Innovation Park Drive and Rancho Vistosio (note: mile markers are not shown on the course maps. Mile marker references are best guesses based upon where it appears the turn-arounds will be.).

The section on Innovation Park Drive will be absolutely critical. The course is gently downhill at first, flattens slightly and then heads steeply downhill toward the two mile mark. Runners need to be very cautious here not to push too hard down the hill, especially as there could be many spectators cheering them on near the transition area and then gravity will start pulling up their pace down the hill. Once hitting the bottom of the hill, there is a left turn and then a short inclined section of less than 100M. Those runners who have pushed too hard on the downhill will pay for it on this short rise after the turn, feeling like their pace will have dropped by minutes per mile (it won’t be that dramatic, but it will feel like it). The smart move is to cruise the downhill, recovering slightly, and then push past your panting competitors on the this very short uphill roller.
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Duathlon — U.S. Women Earn Team Silver to Close Duathlon Worlds

running-advice-bugEDINBURGH, Scotland – The United States elite women captured the team silver medal, and Sean Jefferson finished ninth in the men’s elite race to lead the American contingent on the final day of the 2010 ITU Duathlon World Championships Sunday at Holyrood Park.

Each athlete completed a 10-kilometer run, followed by a 38.4-kilometer bike and a 5-kilometer run.

Gwen Jorgensen at 2010 Duathlon Worlds

USA Triathlon Project 2016 program standout Gwen Jorgensen (Milwaukee, Wis.), who paced the field through the first of two runs, led the way with a 13th-place finish in 2 hours, 16 minutes, 26 seconds. She was closely followed by 2010 U.S. elite national champion Marisa Asplund (Durango, Colo.), who was 16th in 2:18:06, and Heidi Sarna (Chicago, Ill.), who was 19th in 2:21:51.

Led by a trio of top-20 finishers, the U.S. were second only to host Great Britain in the team standings.

Anne Preisig (Falmouth, Mass.) and Rachel Sears (Richmond, Calif.) grabbed 21st and 24th, respectively, to round out the U.S. women’s competitors. Catriona Morrison of Great Britain won the women’s title in 2:02:48.

Jefferson (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) was the top men’s finisher in 1:53:54 and was joined in the top 20 by David Thompson (St. Paul, Minn.), who was 16th in 1:55:26. Dereck Treadwell (Laurens, N.Y.) finished 21st in 1:57:20, while Matt Russell (Ogdensburg, N.Y.) grabbed 28th in 1:58:18. Josh Merrick (Alamosa, Colo.) and Matthew Sheeks (Woodinville, Wash.) closed out the U.S. men’s competitors in 43rd and 50th, respectively.
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Triathlon — Berard, Kanute Claim Second Junior Elite National Titles

running-advice-bugSAN DIEGO, Calif. – Past champions Tanelle Berard and Ben Kanute captured the junior elite national titles, and Tamara Gorman and Eli Hemming brought home the youth elite championships Saturday to highlight day one of USA Triathlon’s Junior Triathlon Festival at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot.

Tanelle Berrard wins 2010 USAT Junior Nationals

After winning last year’s event in Colorado Springs, Colo., Berard (Clive, Iowa) repeated as female junior elite champion, while Kanute (Geneva, Ill.) claimed his second junior elite title in the last three years. The 16- to 19-year-old junior elites covered a 750-meter swim, a 20-kilometer bike and a 5-kilometer run.

Berard took the first race of the day in 1 hour, 3 minutes, 25 seconds. She paired with Jennifer Clay (South Elgin, Ill.) to pace the competitors out of the water, and the duo led for most of the bike before a group of five rode together for the final one-half lap entering T2.

From there, Berard pulled away on the first lap of the run. She closed with a 17:46 run split to earn the victory by 44 seconds over runner up Johanna Gartman (Chattanooga, Tenn.), who finished in 1:04:09. “On the run, I knew I had to give it my all so I made sure I was hydrated … and I just gave it all I had,” said Berard.

Abigail Levene (Dublin, Neb.) posted a blistering run split of 16:42 to grab third and round out the podium in 1:04:22.
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Triathlon — Sterghos & Huelster take Duathlon National titles

RICHMOND, Va. — Battling through temperatures that reached the low 90s, close to 1,200 duathletes ran and biked their way through the streets of downtown Richmond, Va., at the USA Triathlon Duathlon National Championship on Sunday. Nicholas Sterghos, 22, of West Point, N.Y., and Suzanne Huelster, 35, of Riverton, N.J., finished with the overall best times of the day.

The Championship event was part of the second day of the USAT National Duathlon Festival that featured off-road races on Saturday and closed Sunday with on-road races for youth, juniors and adults.

“I finished. That’s always a good thing,” said Greg Tuck, 47, of Mechanicsville, Va. “It was a very nice course. I really enjoyed it.”

Hundreds of spectators cheered on the competitors along the course, which wove through Richmond and the scenic parks and bridges near the James River. The Festival near the transition area provided a great venue for family and friends to enjoy food, live music and fun [and plenty of water] as they waited for their loved ones to cross the finish line.

Twenty-six athletes earned national titles on the 10k run, 38k bike, 5k run event, with Nicholas Sterghos, 22, of West Point, N.Y., and Suzanne Huelster, 35, of Riverton, N.J., finishing with the overall best times of the day. Sterghos won the men’s 20-24 age group by rounding the course in 1:49:02, while Huelster took the women’s 35-39 age group in 2:06:08, just edging Crystal Anthony, 29, of Beverly, Mass., who finished in 2:06:16. Anthony won the women’s 25-29 age group.
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