Triathletes kick-off series at Branbury State Park

SALISBURY — Saturday’s beautiful early summer weather welcomed more than 150 athletes to Branbury State Park in Salisbury for two Vermont Sun triathlon races — a sprint triathlon and Olympic distance triathlon, which were designated as state championship races.

Burlington’s Abe Rogers, 49, won the Olympic distance Lake Dunmore Triathlon in 2:13:53. He was followed almost a minute later by 27-year-old Alexander Kramer of East Northport, N.Y., in second in 2:14:48. Rachel Waller, 36 of Burnt Hills, N.Y., claimed the women’s crown in 2:32:10. Katy Dolbec, 39 of South Burlington took second in 2:34:51.

The Olympic race consisted of a 1,600-yard swim, 28-mile bike and 6.2-mile run.

The Vermont Sun Sprint Triathlon was a 600-yard swim, 14-mile bike, 3.1-mile run. Julia Koch, 33 of Taftsville won the women’s title in 1:18:27. Ripton’s Kelsey Shelofsky, 25, was the runner-up in 1:19:39.

On the men’s side, Kris Freeman, 42, of Campton, N.H., claimed the crown in 1:02:16. Sean McLoughlin, 51, of Burlington, was second in 1:04:11.

It was a perfect day for triathlon racing, temperatures were in the low 60s at the start of the race then rose into the middle 70s by the end, with light winds and a clear sky. Many racers and spectators commented on how beautiful and perfect the area was for a triathlon.

In the Olympic-distance race, Rogers took a commanding lead with the fastest swim (21:13.2) followed by the fastest bike time (1:11:23.1). Going into the run he held a commanding lead over Kramer of seven minutes. It turned out he needed almost all of that as Kramer ran at a 5:20-per-mile pace, over a minute faster than Rodgers’ 6:28 pace, to close to just 55 seconds.

“I dropped my chain on the bike that cost me about a minute but I still thought I had a comfortable lead until I saw how well he (Kramer) was running at the turn around,” Rogers said. “Glad the race wasn’t a mile longer.”

Charlotte’s Sean Fleming, who won a sprint triathlon in New York the previous weekend, placed third in 2:18:41.

Two Middlebury men had strong efforts in the relatively small but talented Olympic field, placing 12th and 13th overall. Joseph Powers took third in the men’s 35 to 39 age group (2:40:03). Powers ran past race founder and director Steve Hare in the final mile. Hare has had both his hips replaced in the past year and a half. He was the oldest competitor in the Olympic triathlon, winning the 65 to 69 age group (2:40:45).

“Running has been a challenge, I still love participating in our events,” Hare said. “Seeing others enjoy their fitness keeps me motivated to putting on the races.”

Brandon’s Eric Morgano cruises through the 10K portion of Saturday’s Vermont Sun Sprint Triathlon at a 7:26 per mile pace. He finished 10th in the race. Photo courtesy of Pat Hendrick

Eric Morgano, 31, of Brandon ran a decent final leg of the race passing a New York runner to earn 10th place in the sprint triathlon

In the women’s sprint race, Shelofsky trailed Koch by three minutes after the bike, but had the second-fastest run to get to within 1:12 of the win. Shelofsky’s mother, Alison, also of Ripton was second in the 55–59 age group placing 10th overall in 1:24:47. Kelsey beat her mom out of the water by two minutes but Mom nearly caught up to her with a 1:30 faster bike. Kelsey’s run was 4:30 better.

Bristol’s Nick Pierce, 43, was fifth overall in the men’s sprint and second in his age group (1:11:11). He was passed by James Underwood of Woodstock (1:11:10) while passing Burlington’s Mark Mulder (1:11:16) both in the last 100 yards.

The sprint race saw 101 individuals plus two teams line up at the starting line; 51 individuals and three teams started the Olympic-distance event.

The day’s competitions also included aquabike versions of the sprint and Olympic-distance events, which consisted of just swimming and biking. Five competitors took part in those events, none from Addison County.

Complete results and splits can be found at The races benefited and were supported by the Brandon Fire Department, Branbury State Park and the Middlebury Union Middle School cross country team. Local business sponsors included Addison Independent, Woodchuck Hard Cider, National Bank of Middlebury, Frog Hollow Bikes, Carrara’s and Graph-X.

This is Vermont Sun Fitness Center’s 37th season putting on triathlon events at Lake Dunmore. The series continues July 17 with Vermont Sun Triathlon sprint and the Branbury Classic, which is a 1.5-mile paddle, 14-mile bike and 3.1-mile run. The series concludes on Sunday, Aug. 14, with the same two events as this past Saturday.

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