Sault Stryders
Running Club

For Blake, it was mission accomplished
Sault Ste. Marie native posts another solid finish in Olympic-distance competition

Reported August 13, 2007 by Ben Leeson for The Sault Star
Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario

Stew Blake of Sault Ste. Marie hits the road on the bike
en route to a second place finish on Saturday

If consistency was Stew Blake’s goal at the St. Joseph Island Triathlon, the 44-year-old Saultite couldn’t be much happier with his performance this year.

Blake was the top local performer Saturday at the fourth instalment of the Olympic-distance race, crossing the line in second place for the second straight year.

“This was really close to what I wanted,” said Blake, whose time of two hours, 20 minutes and 52 seconds was second only to the 2:09:45 of Sudbury’s Michael Hay. “I wanted to finish in about 2:20, and that’s what I did.”

Blake’s time running, cycling and swimming was less than four minutes slower than in last summer’s event, despite the higher temperature and humidity Saturday.

“But it was another nice day,” he said. “Beautifully calm, not much wind on the run, and the sun was out.”

Blake completed the 1,500-metre swim in 28:24, the 40-kilometre bike ride in 1:09:46 and the 10-kilometre run in 42:51.

But he guessed his time might have been better if he had been closer to one of his fellow competitors during the final running component.

“I was by myself for a long time,” he said. “It would have been nice to have a little more competition toward the end, someone to catch or someone to push me.”

In third place, 7:05 behind Blake, was Naughton, Ont. resident Clinton Lahnalampi. He finished the swim in 30:39, the cycling portion in 1:11:58 and the run in 45:21.

“It was a very challenging day, very hot,” said Lahnalampi, who has competed each year since the first triathlon in 2004. “My fiance, Allison Pinaud, did the sprint and she ended up in the medical tent, feeling woozy.”

The top female finisher in the Olympic distance Triathlon was Anne-Marie Fequet of Marathon, Ont. In her St. Joseph Island debut, the 32-year-old second-year triathlete crossed the line in 2:45:43, seventh overall.

“It was perfect,” she said. “I did a lot better than I expected. I took about five minutes off my run.

“But it was my swim and bike, I think that did it for me.”

The Sault’s Mike MacKay was fourth overall, with a total time of 2:36:39.

Greg Cameron and Jeff MacWilliam also represented the Sault in the race, coming in 10th and 11th, respectively. Locals Bill Polnick and Sharon Buehner were 14th and 17th in a field of 18 competitors.

More than 350 participants registered to take part in several triathlons, duathlons, and relays which were part of the yearly event, as well as the Kids of Steel Triathlon.

In the sprint triathlon, which challenged competitors to swim 700 metres, bike 20 kilometres and run an additional five, Derrick Fries of Clarkston, Mich., was first with an overall time of 1:00:14. The top local finisher was Michael McDonough, who was second at 1:15:33.

Sault athlete Scott McCron took first place in the sprint duathlon, composed of five and 2.5-kilometre runs and a 20-kilometre bike ride.

The Sault team of Trish Westman and Linda Gilligan won the Olympic distance triathlon relay, posting a total time of 2:28:02.

In the international distance duathlon, composed of five and 10-kilometre runs, and a 40-kilometre bike ride, Thessalon resident Brent McMillan crossed the line in 1:59, more than 20 minutes ahead of second-place Sault racer Ryan Mitchell.

The duathlon relay was won by the team of Andry Selin, Andy Selin and Matt Eddy of Sharon, Ont. The top local team was the third-place Sault tandem of Laurie Walker and Colleen Cameron.

In the sprint triathlon relay, Matt Cuddy, John Harvey and Jesse Wetzl of the Sault came in first at 1:09:12.

In the sprint duathlon relay, Sault racers Keith Vaillancourt and Lisa Lawrence were first with an overall time of 1:13:27.

The Try-a-Traithlon event, a race designed for beginners and made up of a 400-metre swim, 10-kilometre bike ride and 2.5-kilometre run, Sudbury athlete Simon Jongsma was first at 40:55. Kent Gore of the Sault was second at 43:34.