Sunday, August 16, 2009


(Maple Plain, MN - August 16, 2009) Yesterday they weren't. Today they are.

Approximately half of the 550 participants in the 2nd annual YWCA Women's Triathlon came into the event as "cross trainers," but left as fully accredited triathletes.

Introducing women to the empowering tri lifestyle is the main mission of this event, and they accomplished this objective in a gloriously spectacular way. The joy at the finish line was palpable; impossible to witness without being moved.

Though the competition at the front of the race is a secondary concern, this is not to suggest that it is not important to the organizers. And there were a number of talented athletes on hand this year and they put on a great show for the large crowd of spectators.

Hopkin's Lydia Novotny led the way, though St. Louis Park's Suzie Finger and Minneapolis' Greta Simpson pushed her hard through the first two phases (500 yard swim, 15.5ish bike). The fastest 5K run split of the day delivered her to the finish line in 1:19:49, 55 seconds in front of Finger, who further solidified her status as 2009 Rookie of the Year frontrunner, and 1:50 ahead of Simpson, who improved remarkably on her 15th-place finish here in 2008. The victory was the 3rd of Novotny's young and very promising multisport career. (Lydia was nominated last year for Rookie of the Year.)

The 2008 YWCA Women's Tri was, simply put, a great event. The 2009 version, though conducted under grey skies with an unfulfilled threat of rain, was even better. Kudos to Race Co-Directors Paul Johnson and Jan Guenther, their organizing committee and all the conscientious volunteers.