Sunday, April 10, 2011

Domingo and Thompson rule the Red Hills

Jacksonville's Dan Domingo made victory look easy at the 2011 Red Hills Triathlon, successfully defending his 2010 Red Hills title by finishing more than two-and-a-half minutes ahead of runner-up Charlie Johnson. Domingo's winning time of 65:56 was an improvement of alm0st a minute on his time at the 2010 Red Hills. For close competition, though, you didn't need to look any farther than the women's division, where Tallahasseeans Heidi Thompson and Brook Pace fought until late in the 5K running stage of the triathlon, with Thompson triumphing 75:25 to 76:01.

April 9 was as good a morning as any in Tallahassee's Maclay Gardens State Park for a 1/3-mile swim, followed by a 16-mile bicycle ride, and topped off with a five-kilometer run. The weather was a bit warm and humid for the season, but clouds protected the competitors from the sun nearly until the end of the race. Domingo lost no time in establishing his dominance over the field; he was the fastest out of the water by 18 seconds. Domingo was also the fastest man on the bicycle that morning, and started the 5K run nearly three minutes before any of his competitors. Behind him, James Thompson and Kevin Grogan dismounted from their bicycles within a few seconds of each other. It got even closer in transition, with Grogan starting his run a single second behind Thompson. Half a minute later, Charlie Johnson, in fourth place, took off after them on foot. Johnson, coming off of a fourth-place finish at the Springtime 10K a week earlier, ran down Thompson and Grogan, passing them on the trails on the middle of the 5K course. Turning in the fastest running leg of the morning, Johnson moved into second and put a dent in Domingo's lead. But Domingo was too far ahead to be caught and prevailed over Johnson 65:56 to 68:38. Thompson fought off Grogan for third, 69:17 to 69:24. Pensacola's Mark Sortino placed fifth overall in 69:38 to take the master title.

Brook Pace was the first woman out of the water, starting her bike leg ten seconds ahead of Marci Gray. Less than a minute after Pace had left the bike corral, Sandy Holt and Heidi Thompson were also riding after her. Gray and Holt lost ground on the bicycle, but Thompson dismounted the bike just one second behind pace, and started the 5K run with a slim lead. The two ran close together for four kilometers. Late in the run Thompson finally broke away, going on to cross the finish line 36 seconds ahead of Pace. Gray made up some ground during the run, but not enough to catch the two leaders; she was the third woman finisher at 77:29. Holt was fourth among the women at 78:30. The fifth fastest woman was the top woman master, Jules Kariher of Gulf Breeze; she completed the race in 78:54.


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