Cloud cover, sub-70-degree temperatures, and a slight drizzle made for a fantasic day for the fifth year of the YWCA of Minneapolis Women’s Triathlon on August 12, 2012: fast times, a field of wonderful women racers of all ages and abilities, enthusiastic volunteers and fans, and outstanding food and prizes. Our favorite statistic of the day was that seven of the 13 course records fell, including every age group course record from 45-49 through 70-74. We anticipate that Judy Rykken, who has completed and won her age group in all five YWCA Women’s Triathlons, will finally give this race a course record for the 75-79 age group, when she races next year.
Claire Bootsma (age 25, 1:07:30) took the race for the second year in a row and was only five seconds off of her 2011 record-setting time of 1:07:25, lowering her new age group course record by more than six minutes. However, unlike last year, Bootsma’s first-place finish was not a certainty from the start. In 2011, Bootsma led from the swim and through each leg of the race. This year, Stephanie Solfelt (age 22), the eventual second-place finisher, surged out of the swim more than 30 seconds ahead of Bootsma, with another four swim finishers between the two racers. Bootsma quickly took over on the bike with a hammering average speed of 23.3 mph (39:47 for the 15.5-mile urban bike course), sailed through the 5k run in 18:55, and clinched her win with more than 3:30 seconds over Solfelt.
The real race shaped up on the bike, as six of the top ten finishers recorded bike times faster than 22 mph. Some of the standouts include Lydia Novotny (age 29), the 2009 and 2010 YWCA Women’s Tri overall winner, was second on the bike with a time of 40:23, (averaging 23.0 mph); Greta Simpson (age 31), fourth on the bike, averaging 22.5 mph; and Nordica Stocker (age 27), the eventual sixth-place overall winner with a third-place bike time averaging 22.6 mph.
There was another round of place-switching in the run portion of the race. Novotny turned in the third-fastest run time of 20:19 (a finishing time of 1:11:18), but it was not enough to hold off Solfelt, who turned in the second-fastest run time (19:17), which led to her second-place finish (finishing time of 1:11:08). Simpson came in fourth with 1:12:17, and Ann Snuggerrud (age 45 and the Masters’ winner) crossed the line in fifth-place with a time of 1:13:30, beating her new age group course record by two-and-a-half minutes. Rounding out the top ten were Stocker (1:13:57), Laura Swartz (age 46 and 2008 overall winner, 1:14:09), Jennifer Fitzharris-Funk (age 37, 1:15:04), Karen Bebchuk (age 46, 1:15:13) and Lynne Miller (age 39, 1:15:56).
The 2012 Women’s Triathlon again had three family categories, including Mother-Daughter, Sister-Sister and Life Partners. The top three Mother-Daughter teams were led by The Keller Girls: 47-year-old mother Dawn Keller (1:17:35) and her 20-year-old daughter, Gabriella Keller (1:20:35). Close on their heels was Team Snuggerud (Ann, fifth overall and Masters’ winner, and her daughter Ellie, age 14, a first-time triathlete with a time of 1:35:15). Third was the Combo Crew of Gillian Fischer (age 30, 1:24:45) and Pamela Cutshall (age 58, 1:28:36).
The Sister-Sister category was won for the fifth year in a row by Twin Powers (Laura Swartz and Michelle Denkworth). The sisters dominated in the overall race as well, where they were seventh and 18th (Denkworth in 1:18:12). Second place in the Sister-Sister category was Team O’Connor (comprised of five sisters: Maureen Hauge, Stacia Grayson, Kate O’Connor, Angela Cina and Melinda O’Connor), and in third were the Brennan Sisters (Lynne Miller and Kari Harrison). Dominating the Life Partners category was Laurie Hanson and Kimi Dayton. They were followed by Beth Glommen and Judy Bell in second, and Rachel Flaherty and Kari Willey in third.
Top First-Timer honors went to Kitty Earl-Torniainen, whose finishing time of 1:22:31 was over a minute faster than the 2011 First-Timer winner! Second and third in the First-Timer category were Katy Dickson (age 47, 1:23:05) and Maddie Crawford (age 19, 1:24:35). The overall winners were at the top of many age groups, but starting in the elite wave and taking top honors made them ineligible for age group awards. Crawford took the top spot for ages 14-19, as did Sadie Sigford (20-24), Sarah Hoffman (25-29), Brenda Trok (30-34), Jennifer Fitzharris-Funk (35-39), Bronwyn Cole (40-44), Karen Bebchuk (45-49), Eileen Bonnert (50-54) and Carol Markham-Cousins (55-59).
This year’s 60-64 age group grew by more than 50%, with 35 strong competitors, and was led by Karen Halverson in 1:34:42, more than five minutes faster than the winner in that age group in 2011. Connie Meek (1:35:30) took first in the 65-69 age group, which grew from five to eight competitors and caused the finishing time in that age group to drop almost six minutes. For the fifth year in a row, crowd favorite Judy Rykken (age 74) again owned the 70-74 age group and improved her time by more than four minutes, setting a new age group record with her time of 1:57:51.
The 2012 race again featured relays. Coming in first was Las Chicas Bonitas (Deidree Voss, S Voss, and Alexandria Voss) who won in 1:31:16. The second-place relay team, Tres Ladies, with Kristin Coplin, Susan Westphal, and Heidi Coplin, finished in 1:35:55. The third-place relay team, 3 Mamas Tri, consisted of Courtney Colwell, Amanda Lovelee, and Anna Bierbrauer (1:38:28).
In the unique and crowd-pleasing Most Improved category, almost 240 women vied for top spots. Again, improvements were incredible. Top three were Sarah Nelson, with a 31.0% improvement; Michelle Winchester, 26.8% improvement; and Alexandria Voss, 25.6% improvement. Amazing!
More than 450 women were first-time triathletes, again proving the race to be a strong draw for women new to the sport. Proceeds from the 2011 and 2012 triathlons benefit Women’s Wellness programming at the YWCA of Minneapolis, enabling the race to start a scholarship program this year. One scholarship athlete, Lenore Schultz, participated in the disabled athlete category (another first for this race), competing with her daughter and another friend, and was truly the most-inspiring athlete of the day. Lenore’s passion and spirit embody the mission of the race: to celebrate the strength in all women. Thanks to all participants and thanks to the many donations that made the scholarships possible for the first time this year.
2012 Most Improved
(Name, Improvement Percentage)
Sarah Nelson, 31.0%
Michelle Winchester, 26.8%
Alexandria Voss, 25.6%
By Age Group:
19 and Under: Kati Nelson, 13.1%
20-24: Anne Dooner, 7.6%
25-29: Laura Mueller, 18.2%
30-34: Lisa Cagle, 16.1%
35-39: Kristina Elfering, 14.7%
40-44: Jane Lundberg, 19.8%
45-49: Pamela Looney, 20.6%
50-54: Ellen Barr, 9.8%
55-59: Dobrila Stancevic, 7.2%
60-64: Mary Kleinberg, 9.8%
65-69: Connie Meek, 8.1%
70-74: Judy Rykken, 3.3%
Course Records (Lake Nokomis)
Overall: Claire Bootsma (2011), 1:07:25
19 and Under: Raquel Wohlk (2011), 1:23:36, Gabby Keller (2010), 1:19:13
20-24: Claire Bootsma (2011), 1:07:25
25-29: Claire Bootsma (2012), 1:07:30 (-6:11)
30-34: Kortney Haag (2011), 1:09:48
35-39: Jill Ellenbecker (2011), 1:13:57
40-44: Ann Snuggerud (2011), 1:13:29
45-49: Ann Snuggerud (2012), 1:13:30 (-2:35)
50-54: Eileen Bonnert, (2012), 1:16:40 (-5:19)
55-59: Carol Markham-Cousins (2012), 1:20:25 (3:09 off her own AG record)
60-64: Karen Halverson (2012), 1:34:42 (-5:03)
65-69: Connie Meek (2012), 1:35:30 (-5:46)
70-74: Judy Rykken (2012), 1:57:51 (-3:05)
Pickle Events is our official timing and results company.
Our Official Race Photographer is Minnefota Moments. Visit minnefotamoments.com to find your photos. The most economical option for racers is to order an email digital version for $10. You can also get 5x7s and 6x8s for $12, while 8x10s and CDs are $15.
I L-O-V-E the way I feel after I have completed a race!
Lisa (Age 45, Minnetrista)