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Repeat Champion Leads the Charge at Challenge Maine

Posted on: Monday 31st August 2015

Race day dawned beautifully in Old Orchard Beach for the 2015 CHALLENGEMAINE, and for defending men’s Half champion Gregory Dierksen, who would go on to a repeat win with a commanding start-to-finish lead, it only improved as the morning ticked on. In the women’s field, it was ocean swimming rookie Marie-France Roy who battled through to take the title.

Dierksen, a former collegiate swimmer at Boston University, was expectedly first out of the water just under the 20-minute mark with an already impressive gap on the rest of the field. No longer a single sport specialist, Dierksen averaged over 25mph on the bike, clocking 2:13:09 and cruising into T2 with a clear advantage.

“I didn’t see anyone the whole ride,” he said afterward. “I was actually a little worried on the run until I saw the next guys, since I didn’t know the gap and wondered whether I was going too fast and might burn out.” But Dierksen’s power play was obviously within his limits, as he kept the pace and ultimately crossed the line in first in a time of 4:06:08, more than six minutes ahead of the next men.

In the women’s race, despite Roy’s inexperience in the ocean, she swam 29:57 before heading onto the mostly flat and fast CHALLENGEMAINE bike course.

“The bike was a little rough for me,” said Roy. “I had to do the entire bike over my comfort zone, as it’s not my best of the three sports.”

Obviously running is her strong suit, however, as Roy exited T2 in third place and simply “ran hard”, clocking a 1:29:47 half marathon to rival many of the men’s splits and take the win in 4:38:56. With an Olympic distance race running simultaneously, Roy was unsure whether she had passed her Half distance competitors and remained unaware of her winning status until she reached the line with a four-minute buffer to second place.

Also of note in the CHALLENGEMAINE Half field was Team Hoyt, a well-known  source of inspiration and a fan favorite in the triathlon community. Rick Hoyt and race partner Bryan Lyons posted a finish time of 7:38:48 to a roar of applause and admiration.

In the Olympic race, Lucas Pozzetta and Becky Paige claimed the titles in 1:48:26 and 2:10:11 respectively. Triathlon icon Karen Smyers, the winner of 2014’s Olympic distance race hoping to repeat in 2015, unfortunately pulled out early in the run due to illness. Courtney Kennedy was crowned champion in the sheJAMS race-within-the-race, with athletes raising money to help children in need through Make-A-Wish Maine. 

Full CHALLENGEMAINE results may be found at www.challenge-maine.com/results.


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