Three years ago, Charlie Allen had to get a special exemption to compete in the Columbus Challenge Triathlon because he was only 13 years old.
On Saturday morning, three years after competing in his first sprint triathlon, Allen claimed victory in the Columbus Challenge. The Columbus North junior caught 2014 champion Ben Weaver on the running portion to win in 1 hour, 15 minutes, 12.2 seconds.
Allen, who runs cross-country and track and swims for the Bull Dogs, covered the 800-meter swim in 12:15.05 and the 16.5-mile bike in 44:37.45. He trailed Weaver by about 2½ minutes before running the final 5K in 15:57.15.
“It was really hard,” Allen said. “It was really hot, and the run was awful. I just had to keep going because I knew Ben was in front of me.”
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Allen won a sprint triathlon in Louisville earlier this year. But this win was more gratifying since it was in his hometown.
“It’s awesome because I can see all the people that I’ve been training with and see how they do, too,” Allen said. “It’s cool that I can do it in front of my friends because they don’t always understand what it’s like to watch one of these or do one of these. It helps them understand why sometimes I’m too busy to hang out with them because I’ve been doing training.”
Weaver finished second in 1:17:02.7.
In the women’s sprint triathlon, Weaver’s wife Leslie added a title to the one she won in 2014. She did the swim in 17:46.60, the bike in 48:55.85 and the run in 23:49.45.
“I think the course this year is a little harder than it used to be, especially the run course,” Leslie Weaver said. “But it’s fun. I love this race. I love this community. They put on a great race, and it’s a great foundation.”
Lewis Anderson of La Grange, Kentucky, won the men’s Olympic distance triathlon (1,500-meter swim, 24-mile bike, 10K run) in 2:13:49.8. Sarah Sanders of Bloomington was the women’s winner in 2:24:01.6.
This year’s event featured a Duathlon (run-bike-run), Aquabike (swim-bike) and Aquarun (swim-run), along with 10K and 5K runs, for the first time.
Tim Proctor outdueled fellow Columbus resident Danny Fisher to win the sprint duathlon 1:18:16.8 to 1:19:39.6. Fisher led by more than a minute after the first 5K run, but Proctor took control of the race on the bike.
“It’s a close race, but we never really see each other that much,” Proctor said. “He left me at the start, I saw him about five miles into the bike when I passed him. I knew he’d be faster than me on the second run, so it’s just a case of how much you manage to put in the bank on the bike.”
Lisa Stadler won the women’s sprint duathlon in 1:51:54.6. Craig Dismore (2:21:54.4) and Fredna Holmgren (3:37:31.10) were the men’s and women’s Olympic duathlon winners.
Eric Bradley (1:18:02.40) and Nicole Lukes (1:18:42.25) won the sprint Aquabike, while Kevin Sherlock (1:45:27.55) and Lauren Smith (2:02:25.15) took the Olympic Aquabike. Jamie Brummett (42:40.40) and Ben Noblitt (1:07:21.05) won the sprint Aquarun, while Brent Cole (1:26:51.10) and Angel Hornyak (1:33:55.65) captured the Olympic Aquarun.
Tyler Stilwell (38:26.0) and Stephanie Bethuram 52:50.5, both of Columbus, were the 10K winners. Aaron West of Columbus (25:30.9) and Jackie McCauley (27:29.8) of Fairfax, Virginia, won the 5K.
“It was exciting,” Stilwell said. “I’m glad to see this event is expanding. There’s something for everyone out here, and that’s great for the community and great for this event.”