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Picture perfect day at Challenge Pocono

Posted on: Sunday 16th August 2015

Picture perfect conditions and a sell out field set the stage for an epic day of racing at CHALLENGEPOCONOMOUNTAINS on Sunday. Both Olympic and Half distance triathlons were contested, with athletes swimming in the pristine waters of the

FINIS swim course on the Delaware River, cycling on closed-course roads through the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area and running along the Pocono Mountains’ shady forested trails before capping their efforts with a finish framed by the beautiful grounds of the host hotel, the Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort.

In both the men’s and women’s races, start-to-finish dominance defined the day.  James Capperall, an athlete in the 25-29 amateur division, was first across the line after a 25:10 swim, 2:19:10 bike and 1:25:10 run (4:12:56 total).  Post-race he reported having gone hard yet somewhat conservative on both the swim and the bike, hoping to ward off a blow up on the brutally hilly half marathon.  The run did not disappoint in its unrelenting nature; in fact, Capperall characterized the course as “crazy stupid hard!”  The hills did not deter his winning effort, however.  Capperall pushed on, unaware of how large a lead he enjoyed until he reached an out and back section and was finally able to sense that the top podium spot was secure.  His strong yet smart performance landed him in first place with a 14-minute buffer over his closest rival.  

In the women’s field, pro triathlete Darbi Roberts also led start-to-finish with a 28:31 swim, 2:40:03 bike and 1:37:43 run (4:50:36 total).  Although ineligible for an official award due to her professional status, the kudos was of secondary importance to Roberts.  Her focus, in addition to serving as a representative of Race2Rebuild, a charity founded by athletes to help bring families home following disaster, was on testing her fitness following nearly a year plagued by injury.  Going into the event, Roberts’ goal was simply to stay smart and reacquaint herself with racing.  “I’m just elated that I’m back in the game and I was able to stick with my plan,” she said afterward, her competitive fire obviously back and burning bright. Sharon Schmidt-Mongrain, the first place amateur female, enjoyed the top podium spot and the official winner’s title, clocking a time of 4:55:45.

In addition to a celebration of the grit and determination of each and every participant, CHALLENGEPOCONOMOUNTAINS was a celebration of the great outdoors, serving as part of the National Park Service’s 50th Year Anniversary series of events. CHALLENGEPOCONOMOUNTAINS took place primarily in eastern Pennsylvania’s Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, a spectacular venue that is among the most visited of National Park Service properties.

Full CHALLENGEPOCONOMOUNTAINS results may be found at www.challenge-pocono.com/results.


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