Tri-Glenwood Triathlon set for Sunday |

Tri-Glenwood Triathlon set for Sunday

G. Sean Kelly

Ask around, and most people in the know will tell you a three-peat is likely at Sunday’s 19th Tri-Glenwood Triathlon.

Of course, that’s assuming there are no flat tires, nasty spots of hidden gravel, a dark-horse athlete or any number of other unlucky or unexpected events.

In triathlons, it’s wise to expect the unexpected.

While two-time defending champion Charlie Wertheim admits he’s “had good luck so far,” more than luck has made the Glenwood resident the odds-on favorite to win the overall individual title again this year.

Competing in his 10th Tri-Glenwood, Wertheim hasn’t finished lower than second in the past six years and won the event three times, including the last two.

“It’s my 10th year, which is a sure sign of old age,” Wertheim said.

He jokes about age, but Wertheim, 40, only seems to be getting better.

Last year he set the record of 1 hour, 17 minutes, 27 seconds on a course that includes an 825-meter swim in the Glenwood Hot Springs pool, a 15-mile ride out to Canyon Creek and back and a five-mile run along the Roaring Fork River before coming back to the finish line at the 7th Street Esplanade.

And his competitors aren’t counting on him slowing with age.

“Charlie will be tough to beat,” said another favorite, Glenwood’s Scott Marr.

“He’s awfully fast on the bike and on the run. I’m just kind of hoping to key on him and have a good race trying to keep up with him.”

Wertheim and Marr have never competed against each other in a triathlon, partly because of Marr’s affinity for riding on knobby tires.

Marr competed in the Xterra series this summer and is currently second overall in the 30-34 age class.

Xterra features the typical triathlon events, but the swim (1 mile) is done in open water, the ride is on a mountain bike on single tracks (14-32 miles) and the 10-kilometer run is typically not on asphalt.

Marr admitted it will be a change competing on the hard surface, but also said, “It always comes down to the legs and the lungs.”

Jeff Hulett of Golden is also someone who could compete for the title, according to race director Cindy Lundin.

And there’s always that chance a wild card will show up.

“It would be nice for both (Marr and me) to have a good race, and then see what happens,” Wertheim said.

“I just hope there isn’t some other person we’re overlooking who beats us by five minutes.”

On the women’s side, Susan Griffin-Kaklikian of Castle Rock plans to return to defend her title, but she is the only female competitor coming back who finished in the top three last year.

While elite athletes compete in the Tri-Glenwood every year, the course is also ideal for families, newcomers and noncompetitive triathletes – whether as individuals or as a part of one of the 22 three-person teams in this year’s event.

The warm water of the Hot Springs pool makes it one of the best first triathlons for newcomers and some families make an annual event of the Tri-Glenwood.

Littleton’s Nancy Turtle is joined this year by two of her three children, Paul and Sara. Carolanne Turtle typically also competes in the event, but is expecting her first child in January.

The Rubins have the biggest family entry, with five members scheduled to compete.

Getting one person in the event, let alone five, is a feat in itself, with the registration typically filling up by the end of May.

“This is the first year I finally got smart enough to register early and get into the individual competition,” Marr said.

“I think (the popularity of the event) is just due to the sponsors and volunteers … and it’s just such a beautiful occasion,” he added. “The people who participate and come realize what a great community we have here. I hope more people from outside Glenwood come, because it’s such a great place to visit.”

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