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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Kona Age Groupers Set For Inaugural Memorial Hermann Ironman Texas

            By Jon Walk
            Runner Triathlete News correspondent

Did you miss out on going to Kona to watch this year’s Ford Ironman World Championship in person?
            Aside from the professionals that will surely flock to The Woodlands for the largest non-championship prize money purse on the Ironman circuit in 2011 at the inaugural Memorial Hermann Ironman Texas, another version of this year’s race on the Big Island will make its way to the Lone Star state.
            Forty-seven age groupers who finished at Kona on Saturday have signed up for Ironman Texas, according to the initial participant list of 2,702 released by the World Triathlon Corporation on Friday via the website.
            Two of Texas’ top age group finishers Saturday – Spring Branch’s Amy McGrath and Arlington’s Tom Rodgers – say an Ironman three hours from their front door is just too close to pass up.
            “Nothing compares to being able to throw your bike in the trunk and driving a few hours directly to the race,” said Rodgers.
            And while he qualified for this year’s World Championship at last year’s Ironman Florida, a feat he expects to duplicate next month in Panama City Beach, he said, “In 2012 and thereafter, however, it (Ironman Texas) will likely become my main qualifier.”
            The 50-year-old, who is also a columnist for Runner Triathlete News, was seventh in his division with a 10:06:23 finish.
            Rodgers and McGrath were a pair of six who finished better than tenth in their respective age group.
A 40-year-old homemaker from near San Antonio, McGrath, who lost several minutes on the bike due to a flat tire, was second with a personal-best time of 10:08:43.
It was the mother of five’s 17th Ironman and eighth Kona appearance.
“This was my first time to do Kona two years in a row and I was super motivated because I had my worst ever Ironman in Kona last year,” said McGrath.
“Now, that my children are growing up (they are 5, 7, 9, 11, and 13), I can train a few years in a row without taking every other year off to have a baby.”
Weddington, North Carolina’s Tanya Houghton, 42, who finished eighth in McGrath’s 40-44 age group, six spots behind her in 10:44:55, will be coming for another shot at McGrath – this time on her home turf.
Arlington, TexasPatrick Schuster, 38, just barely missed on his goal to break nine hours at Kona, but did finish fifth in his age group in 9:10:40. 
He’ll bring the only top 100 finish from Kona – short of a late Foundation Slot entry – to Ironman Texas with a career best of 8:59:24 at last year’s Ironman Florida.  He will be joined in The Woodlands by his Windemere, Florida-based coach Lauren Smith, 48, who finished Saturday in 14:57:28.
Another Smith – one of 23 currently registered for Ironman Texas – will be New Britain, Pennsylvania’s Nancy Smith.  The 54-year-old, who won her age group at 70.3 Eagleman in Maryland this summer to qualify for Kona, finished her fifth career World Championship in 11:44:33.
Schoenenberg, Switzerland’s Hermann Hefti, 62, will be coming to The Woodlands for his first Ironman appearance on the mainland United States.
The eight-time Kona finisher was sixth in his age group in 11:20:42 and will be joined in his age group in May by Colorado Springs, Colorado’s Rob Ladewig, who was 25th in 12:55:11.
Other notable Kona competitors who are slated to start the race in Lake Woodlands are:
+  Seven other sub 10-hour finishers including three Texans.  Kingwood’s Andy Gardner, 30, who was the first age grouper out of the water in 52:05 en route to a 9:24:51 finish, Austin’s Brian Shelden, 40, and Tomball’s D.J. Snyder, 24.  Also in that mix is Australia’s Dieter McDonald, 37, and one of seven residents of Mexico.
+  Ultrarunner Pam Reed of Tucson, Arizona, who will be competing in the 50-54 age group for the first time in her Ironman career.  The two-time overall Badwater Ultramarathon winner (in 2002 and 2003) finished in 11:40:27.
+  Five of this year’s lottery winners, including four from Texas.  They include Fort Worth’s James Gracey, Austin’s Brad Floyd and The Woodlands’ Amy Barr.  Floyd, 39, was a second-time lottery winner that finished in 12:36:44 while Barr, 36, was the second in her family to win in the lottery (her husband, Kevin, competed in 2009) and punched out her debut Ironman in 13:22:20.
+  Tlalnepantla, Mexico’s Luis Alvarez, 48, who completed his 69th Ironman in 12:02:49 -- his ninth Kona appearance.  Alvarez will be doing Ironman Texas as one of 11 Ironmans that he’ll complete in 2011 to help him get to 100 Ironmans by the 2013 Ford Ironman World Championship – the event’s 35th anniversary year.
+  A sure favorite in the women’s 30-34 age group category may be Encinitas, California’s Beth Walsh, who qualified for this year’s Kona with an attractive 4:46:01 at the 70.3 California, but finished on Saturday in 10:13:51.
+  The only Kona finisher coming to Texas that qualified in Brazil was Happy Valely, Oregon’s David Ciaverella.
 The 45-year-old made his fourth trip to the Ford Ironman World Championship complete with a 10:14:57 finish. 
David’s wife, Ann, who is not signed up to compete here but like her husband qualified for Kona in Brazil, finished her third World Championship in a W40-44 time of 10:48:42.

            The complete list of Kona competitors to register for Ironman Texas is as follows:

Justin Abernathy, M, 36, Washington, D.C., 14:07:00
Aleck Alleckson, M, 37, Clackamas, OR, 9:45:46
Luis Alvarez, M, 48, Tlalnepantla, Mexico, 12:02:49
Tere Ambe, F, 44, Mexico, 12:08:14
Ryan Barnett, M, 36, Camp Lejuene, NC, 9:42:23
Amy Barr, F, 36, The Woodlands, TX, 13:22:20
William Beardsley, M, 56, Philadelphia, PA, 12:25:35
Ryan Burke, M, 37, Portsmouth, OH, 12:57:34
Shawn Burke, M, 45, Atlantic Beach, FL, 10:18:00
David Ciaverella, M, 45, Happy Valley, OR, 10:14:57
Everitt Denise, F, 58, Marion, NY, 12:58:05
Keish Doi, M, 43, Cupertino, CA, 10:05:30
Mitch Finnie, M, 45, San Antonio, TX, 11:21:39
Will Flanagan, M, 22, Denver, CO, 11:56:41
Brad Floyd, M, 39, Austin, TX, 12:36:44
Andy Gardner, M, 30, Kingwood, TX, 9:24:51
James Gracey, M, 38, Fort Worth, TX, 12:32:08
Hermann Hefti, M, 62, Schoenenberg, Switzerland, 11:20:42
Tanya Houghton, F, 42, Weddington, NC, 10:44:55
Rob Ladewig, M, 62, Colorado Springs, CO, 12:55:11
Kelly Luttmer, F, 47, Coppell, TX, 12:05:48
Deiter McDonald, M, 37, Camperdown, Victoria, Australia, 9:38:52
Amy McGrath, F, 40, Spring Branch, TX, 10:08:43
Shane Merz, M, 44, Houston, TX, 13:59:30
Lee Neathery, F, 47, Houston, TX, 11:48:23
Shane Niemeyer, M, 35, Boise, ID, 10:07:08
Gustavo Poblete, M, 48, Mexico, 10:25:37
Luciano Prosperi, M, 65, Mexico City, Mexico, 14:06:56
Enrique Ramirez, M, 33, Mexico DF, Mexico, 9:59:53
Andrea Randle, F, 48, Richmond, VA, 11:52:36
Pam Reed, F, 49, Tucson, AZ, 11:40:27
Tom Rodgers, M, 50, Arlington, TX, 10:06:23
Katy Rosane, F, 47, Anchorage, AK, 15:36:04
Patricia Rosen, F, 57, Austin, TX, 13:42:42
Mauricio Sanchez, M, 28, Mexico City, Mexico, 10:07:41
Patrick Schuster, M, 38, Arlington, TX, 9:10:40
Brian Shelden, M, 40, Austin, TX, 9:35:54
Darin Shields, M, 43, Ridgefield, WA, 11:06:06
Lauren Smith, F, 48, Windemere, FL, 12:57:28
Nancy Smith, F, 54, New Britain, PA, 11:44:33
DJ Snyder, M, 24, Tomball, TX, 9:45:47
Mark Sortino, M, 43, Pensacola, FL, 10:26:38
Marty Taylor, M, 40, Highland Park, IL, 10:44:06
Allan Villanueva, M, 32, Mexico, 10:04:14
Ron Wally, M, 51, Franklin, NJ, 11:01:45
Beth Walsh, F, 30, Encinitas, CA, 10:13:51
            Source:  Woodlands MultiSport research

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