Wednesday, September 23, 2009


(Photo courtesy of Wayne Kryduba: Kevin O'Connor en route to victory at the inaugural Minneapolis Duathlon.)

Duathlon Worlds are this Saturday and, as with Tri Nationals, Minnesota is sending a small but talented group of participants. Some of them could bring home medals.


Let's start with the girls.

The female Minnesotans most likely to succeed on Sunday are Jeanne Fleck, 44, and Pam Stevens, 57.

Fleck is capable of winning her division. Her stiffest competition should come from fellow Americans Julie Deery (2008 Duathlon Master of the Year) of Pennsylvania, Kris Kuss of Delaware and Kathleen Hayden of upstate New York.

Karen McKeachie (MI) and 2008 Duathlon Grand Master of the Year Diane Proud (TX) should lead the way in the VERY deep 55-59W division. Pam Stevens has a reasonably good chance to fill out the podium.

Other Minnesota girls who could be competitive in their respective divisions this weekend include 30-34s Sara Viamonte and Tara Croteau, and Ann Rhea in the 60-64 AG.

Now for the guys.

Kevin O'Connor, Todd Firebaugh, Bob Bailey and Hank Larsen could come home with medals. Kevin, in fact, is not only capable of winning the 35-39M category, though Pennsylvanian Todd Wiley, who won the amateur title at the 1998 Duathlon World Championships in St. Wendel, Germany, has other ideas, he (Kevin) has a legitimate shot at an overall top 3-5 finish. (Kevin has won all three of the dus he's entered this season.)

If Todd Firebaugh, 47, races like he did at Apple and Oakdale, he should give divisional favorite Chris Giordanelli of South Carolina, a run for his money.

Bailey and Larsen will be battling for medals in the surprisingly deep 65-69M AG, but don't be surprised if one, or both, of these guys reach the podium.

Other Minnesota men gunning for divisional success include Troy Vargas, 40, and Dereck Podratz, 35.

It should be noted that it is quite possible that foreign athletes will prevent some of our state's finest from finishing in the top 3 in their AGs.

Hey, how will DKT and Marlo fare in the pro race?

PREDICTION: David Thompson and Marlo McGaver will be the fastest American male and female on Saturday. As for the podium, Europeans should sweep the men's spots and claim two of the women's steps. In the absence of Great Britain's amazing Catroina Morrison, the women's race will be won by a Kiwi. Her name is Samantha Warriner.