The debut of summer triathlons: The Gold Nugget

Come celebrate 30 years!

Alaskan summers are the best time to be outside and take advantage of the short span of warm weather. Road races and triathlons are some of the sporting events that Anchorage residents get to enjoy over the next three months; The Gold Nugget triathlon being the first of many.

The Gold Nugget is a unique triathlon that specifically targets young girls and women to get out and stay active. The goal of this race is more than just focusing on a one day event; The Gold Nugget Triathlon Board of Directors wants to promote year-round healthy lifestyles and relationships.

Kristyn Turney, who competed in The Gold Nugget as her first ever triathlon, appreciated that the triathlon is all-female.

Traditionally, including the 2017 Gold Nugget, the triathlon features a 500 yard swim, followed by a 12 mile bike and finished off with a 4.1 mile run. This year the race was kept around Bartlett High School, with the swim in the school’s pool, with the bike and run taking place in adjoining areas.

“They were able to section off the pool so you could see the elite/competitive athletes on one side and the newbies [and] more chill ladies like me on the other. The bike and the run were really pretty, the majority of the time the mountains were out of the clouds,” Turney said.

Alexis Williams, a UAA student, also participated in the triathlon. It is the only triathlon that she has ever competed in, but she has done it four different times.

Williams also enjoyed the course of the 2017 triathlon, although she said the pool could get crowded and the bike and running trails could get a bit confusing, the whole event was well worth it.

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In addition, the triathlon had a variety of different entry types and result categories, including overall winners by age group, most improved, school teams, tri-generation, mother and daughter team, business team and open team.

The individual results ranked everyone by age group, with a total of 1,449 entries, the youngest competitor was just 10 years old and the oldest being over 80 years old.

In her age group of F25-29, and overall for the entire triathlon, Kinsey Laine of Fairbanks took the title with a time of 1 hour, 4 minutes and 23 seconds. This beats her previous win and record set in 2016 by just 19 seconds.

Lane swept the race with an swim pace of 1:24 min per mile, an average bike pace of 23.39 mph, and a mile pace of 6:18. She beat the second place winner by nearly five minutes.

Per age group, the following people took the individual titles, Alyssa Hargis (F10-14, 1:16.24), Ellie Mitchell (F15-19, 1:13.11), Emma Tarbath (F20-24, 1:12.06), Megan Cheif (F30-34, 1:10.47), Amber Stull (F35-39, 1:09.04), Sara Miller (F40-44, 1:12.32), Danelle Winn (F45-49, 1:11.47), Dianne Prince (F50-54, 1:21.09), Natasha Bergt (F55-59, 1:15.23), Melinda GreigWalker (F60-64, 1:20.33), Ellyn Brown (F65-69, 1:32.38), Rita Miller (F70-74, 1:54.09), Diane Mohwinkel (F75-79, 1:48.40) and Millie Spezialy (F80+, 2:14.42).

In the second results category for most improved, returning competitors had their previous finish time compared to their current finish time. With an impressive 35.28 percent change, Jenni Marcell, a Nome local, improved her time by almost an hour.

In 2016, Marcell finished with a time of 2 hours and 21 minutes, this year she finished with a time of 1 hour and 31 minutes.

For the third category, two teams were entered in for the school team results. Romig Middle School (Hargis, Donley, Lapkass, Dorris, Smith) had five athletes, as well as Southside Triathletes (Meeds, Hellmann, Armbrust, Reynolds, McLeod). By 50 minutes, the combined time of 6:47.42 for Romig beat Southside’s total time of 7:37.15.

The tri-generation category is unique to this race, including a mother, daughter and grandmother. For 2017, seven different entry teams qualified for this category, two teams even containing the same mother and grandmother, but two separate daughters.

The winning tri-generation cumulative time of 4 hours, 46 minutes is held by Cassie Smith (mother, 1:25), Payton Smith (daughter, 1:28) and Susan Bradley (grandmother, 1:52).

Similar to the tri-generation teams is the mother and daughter teams, that was much more popular, with 162 entries. The top time of 2 hours, 32 minutes was won by the duo of KC Kent (daughter, 1:12.15) and Lynn Kent (mother, 1:20.30).

The second to last category was the business teams. Only two teams entered into this category, one being ConocoPhillips (Sind, Simek, Whitworth, Bremont, Bottrell) and the other being Team SCF (Cutting, Chapman, Cummings, Tansey, Taylor).

ConocoPhillips took the win with a cumulative time of 7 hours, 36 minutes, with an average time of 1 hour, 31 minutes. While Team SCF had an average time of 1 hour, 47 minutes which put their cumulative time behind by nearly an hour and a half.

The final category was that of the open teams, which included 36 different entries. The winning team named themselves the “Girdwood Girls Gone Tri.” With an average time of 1 hour, 26 minutes, the Girdwood girls took the overall title by just twelve minutes.

Overall, the whole event has a beneficial aim for women and young girls.

“I loved that it’s an all woman’s race. There is such an awesome history behind the race. I think it’s the atmosphere and camaraderie that has made it that way. Every person I was around was super supportive and encouraging the whole way through the race,” Turney said.

To view more information about the event or to view the results of the 2017 race, visit their website at www.goldnuggettriathlon.com or the Facebook page Gold Nugget Triathlon.