By Fergus Murray on 28/09/10 at 10:45 pm
Olympians Laura Bennett and Jarrod Shoemaker took home top honours at the USA Triathlon Elite National Championship on Saturday, 25 September, topping a field of over 100 of the best triathletes in the United States. The event, which was held in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, will be aired on VERSUS on 14 October at 4 p.m. EDT.
The USAT Championship was held in conjunction with the Tuscaloosa ITU Triathlon Premium Pan American Cup, giving athletes from around the world the opportunity to compete. While a number of International athletes were in attendance, only those representing the United States were able to be in contention for the USAT national title.
Bennett, who finished 10th in the final standings of this year’s Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series, claimed the second USAT Elite title of her career, finishing the challenging Olympic-distance course (1.5K swim, 40K bike, 10K run) in 2:04:13.
“It’s my first national championship as Bennett,” said Bennett, who won the 2003 title as Laura Reback, her maiden name. “It’s an honour to be crowned national champion.”
Four women – Bennett, Sarah Groff, Annabel Luxford and Sara McLarty – broke away on the bike, building an advantage of over two minutes by the time they entered the second transition. Bennett easily distanced herself from the rest of the group at the start of the run, and held a 30-second advantage at the end of the first of four laps. She never looked back, crossing the finish line with a gap of over three minutes after posting the day’s best run split (37:32).
“I just went out of transition as fast as I could and tried to hold that,” Bennett said afterward.
Sarah Groff wrapped up the best season of her career with a runner-up finish, crossing the line in 2:07:42. Australia’s Annabel Luxford was the next across the line in 2:09:09.
In men’s contest, Shoemaker, who finished the year ranked 13th in the 2010 Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series standings, captured his first USAT Elite title in 1:54:13. Australia’s Brendan Sexton was the top finisher in the men’s race, finishing in 1:53:48 to win the Pan American Cup. Shoemaker finished just 25 seconds later after posting the day’s best run split of 33:04.
“I don’t have a national title, so I’m really excited to have this on my résumé. It’s something I hope to do a couple of times in my career, but it’s tough to get one of these.” said Shoemaker.
Finishing second in the USAT Elite race was veteran Timothy O’Donnell, with Matt Chrabot rounding out the top three.
Along with the Elite competitions, 1,300 age-group athletes raced in the 2010 USA Triathlon Age Group National Championship on the same course.
Photos courtesy of USA Triathlon/Timothy Carlson
Find more details about this event - 2010 Tuscaloosa ITU Triathlon Premium Pan American Cup