GLENWOOD SPRINGS — Amy Ackerman hasn’t exactly been able to focus on training for big triathlon events this year. Not that it held her back on Sunday, though.
The 28-year-old native of Glenwood Springs improved on her second-place finish from a year ago in the annual Tri-Glenwood Triathlon, claiming top-notch splits in the biking and running portions of the race before easily crossing the finishing line as the top overall female.
“I’m surprised,” said Ackerman, a 2003 graduate of Glenwood Springs High School. “I didn’t have a lot of expectations for myself because I hadn’t done a swim race before, and that’s the hardest part of it. But I felt great afterward.”
Ackerman crossed the finish line in 1 hour, 29 minutes and 16 seconds, giving her the fourth-best time among all competitors for completing the 825-meter swim, 15-mile bike race and 4.75-mile run in Glenwood. She ended up having the fastest biking split among all females at 38:42. Her run of 31:44 was the second-best among females, with 37-year-old Alyson Johnson of Rifle posting a top time of 31:02.
All of this came in an athletic off year for Ackerman, who was married in July and hadn’t done any competitive triathlons this year. Previously, she’d tried to do at least one a month leading up to coming back for the Tri-Glenwood race each September, but planning for a wedding to her new husband, Greg, got in the way of that.
So all of that wedding stuff got in the way of her competing in events like the Steamboat Olympic at Lake Catamount in August or the Boulder Peak Triathlon in July. Both of them have been stops Ackerman has always made prior to coming home to Glenwood. She now lives in Steamboat Springs.
But she figured there was no way, after missing those two events prior to Sunday, she would finish as well as she did.
“I usually like to build up my endurance through the summer coming into this event,” added Ackerman, whose second-place finish a year ago was her previous best in Glenwood. “So this was really the first sports event I got to be in since then. It was fun.”
Heather Turtle of Littleton finished a distant second in the overall female race in 1:35:22, with Carbondale’s Nicole Cavarra finishing third in 1:35:59.
In the overall men’s race, 42-year-old John Heskett of Colorado Springs crossed the finish line in 1:25:39 to finish with the best overall time in the triathlon. Another Colorado Springs competitor, Ryan Inman, was second in 1:26:12. The top local male competitor was 34-year-old Timothy Lavin of New Castle, who finished third in 1:29:06.
Both times by Ackerman and Heskett could be dubbed “course records.” The running course from previous Tri-Glenwood Triathlons was shortened from close to five miles to 4.75 miles this year, making the overall distance and course times different from years past.
That didn’t seem to bother Ackerman too much.
“The course when you went into downtown always had that slight hill at the end, which was always so killer,” she said. “That was kind of nice. It helped my kick at the end.”
Other notables at the race were as follows:
• The youngest competitors were Hannah Stinson of Glenwood Springs and Sam Musler of Denver, both of whom are 16 years old.
• The oldest competitors were John Sherman of Glenwood and Harvey Hoogstrate of Denver, both of whom are 76 years old.
• Brendan Heitzman of Glenwood Springs, 18, won the award for the top overall first-time finisher with a time of 1:33:01. Heitzman was probably equally pleased to beat his dad, Peter Heitzman of Glenwood Springs, who finished in 1:41:48, though that was after competing in the Ragnar Relay running race Friday and Saturday.
• Taking the title for best female team was Triple Threat, which finished the race in 1:28:39. Toni Hecksel (swim), Heidi Vosbeck (run) and Angela Vichick (bike), all from Glenwood, made up the team.
• The top overall co-ed relay team was tri2ketchup with a winning time of 1:33:01. Katie Bishop of Carbondale swam, Dana Chiappinelli of Glenwood biked and Sharma Phillips of Glenwood did the running portion.
• There were approximately 240 individual competitors and 33 teams competing in the triathlon, accounting for 339 total registered participants.