A day perfect for racing brought out the best in a field of nearly 100 competitors at Saturday’s 2012 Aukeman Triathlon.
None were more perfect than men’s winner Scott Jones and top “Aukewoman” Jamie Bursell.
“I feel good, it was a fun race,” Jones said. “I went out a lot harder than normal. I treated this like a really hard training day because I have another event coming up.”
Jones has been training for Olympic distance triathlons (twice this distance), and will be competing at the USTA Age Group National Championships in two weeks in Burlington, Vermont.
Jones’ training was apparent as he slipped through the swim and out of Auke Lake in third place overall behind Cody Brunette and Kristin Jones, and never dropped a position lower, winning in a new record time of one hour, two minutes and 31 seconds. Just over three minutes faster than the course record of 1:05:39 in 2010 set by Zack Bursell.
Zack Bursell, who got a wake up call from mother Jamie Bursell at 7:30 a.m., arrived for the race just in time to walk into Auke Lake for the start. Bursell bested his old mark as well, placing second in 1:03:31.
As for Z. Bursell’s alarm clock? It rang in a new women’s course record for mom.
Jamie Bursell put up a stellar 1:12:32, breaking Kristin Jones’ mark of 1:13:42 set in 2010.
“It helped me in the swim to follow all the bubbles,” Bursell said. “I got a good draft and then I could get out of the water quick and hop on the bike.”
While Bursell’s swim time was in the top 30, the bike is her strong feature and she quickly overtook some of the first cyclists on the course.
“I hammered it a little bit too hard on the bike and I suffered for it on the run,” Bursell said. “I knew Kristin (Jones) and Annie (Albrecht) were right behind me so I had to keep my head into it and stay on it. That was fun though.”
Bursell finished second in the inaugural 2009 Aukeman and third twice.
“I have had my eye on this race for quite a while,” Bursell said. “For the last year my goal has been to win the women’s race.”
Annie Albrecht put up the third all time fastest women’s time for the silver finish with 1:13:43.
After the race she walked with husband Greg, the men’s 10th-place finisher, and their infant daughter Eliza.
“She’s the instigator,” Greg Albrecht said of his wife.
“I am the one who loves this stuff,” Annie Albrecht added. “I just make him do this with me so I don’t have to train by myself.”
Kristin Jones finished third for the women, coming through with a 1:14:28; fourth went to Jennifer Watson in 1:14:31; Eliza Lende was fifth in 1:16:19; Cathy Tide placed sixth with 1:17:44; Elizabeth Jones placed seventh with 1:18:00; Melanie White took eighth with 1:18:05; Tyra Smith-MacKinnon was ninth in 1:19:40; and Christine Dellow rounded out the top ten women with a posting of 1:19:41 (complete times and finishes will be posted when available to the Juneau Empire).
Kevin Sellers chased down Scott Jones and Zack Bursell, just missing a come-from-behind win, to finish third for the “Aukemen” in 1:04:07; Brian Smith notched fourth with 1:06:12; Richard Forst was fifth with 1:07:08; Scott May finished sixth in 1:09:17; Cody Brunette seventh in 1:10:45; Nickolas Rutecki eighth at 1:11:24; in ninth was James Ustasiewski with a solid 1:11:43 and Greg Albrecht rounded out the top ten with 1:12:17 (complete times and finishes will be posted in the Juneau Empire when available).
Over half of the 90-plus participants in Saturday’s triathlon have trained for athletic events such as this in race director Tracy Rivera’s training camp.
While each has accomplished goals and improved times, none seemed to draw more of a round of cheers while finishing than Betty Stidolph.
Like many of the competitors she also has competed in all four Aukeman races.
The Bartlett Hospital nurse got a high-five from Rivera as she finished near the end of the pack of athletes.
“I am old and slow and this is the only race I do,” Stidolph said. “It is three sports that you can do a little bit of without beating your body up. The training is a lot of variety that keeps you going. You can stay active all year around and it is just a nice way to get out and be active all year with friends.”
Numerous finishers had signs and banners up along the course cheering them to keep moving.
“We were making shirts all last night,” CC Travers said as daughters Jenna and Kristen, clad in white shirts with “Fast As Lightning” adorning them cheered for brother Ben.
Even with victory at hand, winner Scott Jones still wasn’t at ease with the finish line in sight.
“I kept looking over my shoulder,” Jones said. “I was just expecting Zack to be right there. I have never been a strong runner.”
Instead, at the finish line Jones was overcome with effort, exhaustion and family as niece and nephew Lydia and David Boman wrestled him to the ground while more finishers were cheered across the line.