Temperatures reached 93 degrees on Sept. 25 in Augusta, Georgia, but that didn’t stop seven Columbus triathletes from completing the Ironman 70.3 Augusta.
“It was hotter than I’ve ever trained in, but it was fun,” said Kelsey Finch, who was competing in her first half-Ironman event.
Jennifer Combest, Lindsay Morgeson and Barbara Salee also were doing their first half-Ironman events. They train for the swim portion with a group on Sunday afternoons at Max Henry’s house on Grandview Lake.
A half-ironman consists of a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike and 13.1-mile run.
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“It made me feel fit because I didn’t think I was going to be fit enough to do it,” Combest said.
Morgeson finished in 6 hours, 27 minutes, 43 seconds. Combest was clocked in 6:40:56, and Finch finished in 6:48:58.
The race featured 2,374 finishers and another 329 that did not finish.
“It was really hot,” Morgeson said. “But there were a ton of people, so that always helps, having other people who are doing it with you. There was never a spot on the course where you couldn’t see somebody else. It was a really good event to be the first one that I did.”
Salee finished in 7:07:39. She lost about 20 minutes waiting for a new wheel after a bike breakdown.
“I was really glad to be able to finish,” Salee said. “I finished better than I thought I would, considering the challenges of the day.”
Meanwhile, Henry and his son Malachi are veterans of Ironmans and half-Ironmans, and Jim Lewis had competed in half-Ironmans.
Malachi Henry finished fourth in the 25-29-year-old men’s division and 14th overall in 4:31:22.
“It was a good day,” Malachi Henry said. “It was warm, so it was a challenging day for everybody.”
Lewis finished 17th in 55-59 men’s division in 5:50:02.
Max Henry was 12th in the 60-64 men’s division in 6:11:02. He said the heat took a toll on his body.
“I think that a lot of people walked and added time to their run because with a temperature of 93, they got dehydrated,” he said. “Their electrolytes went out of whack, so that was a detriment to everybody that was racing.”
Among other triathletes that train with the Henrys, Stuart Davey did the Ironman 70.3 Chattanooga on May 22, Wendy Scgalski and Leslie Weaver did the Ironman 70.3 Muncie on July 9 and Erika Kahlenbeck did the Ironman 70.3 Steelhead Aug. 14 in Benton Harbor, Michigan.
Kahlenbeck, who was competing in her first half-Ironman, finished in 7:31:00.
“I didn’t do as well on the run as I thought I’d do because I didn’t get my nutrition right,” Kahlenbeck said. “But the bike was the best I’ve ever done, and the swim was good. Afterward, I was really tired for a couple days, but I would do it again. It was fun.”
Davey, along with Kahlenbeck’s father, Joe, are doing Ironman 70.3 Austin on Oct. 30.
“I’m excited, but still nervous,” Joe Kahlenbeck said.
Seven set for Ironman Louisville
Sunday morning, at least seven local triathletes will line up in the Ohio River for the swim portion of Ironman Louisville.
Don Allen, Julie Brinksneader, Nate McLeese, Isaac Reed, Jeff Scholar, Brad Volland and Ben Weaver will try to conquer the 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and 26.2-mile run.
“I think it will be fun,” Brinksneader said. “I’ve never done anything like it.”
Weaver is the veteran of the group. He has done four Ironmans, including Louisville twice.
The other six will be competing at that distance for the first time.
“I’m more excited than anything right now,” Reed said.
McLeese is looking forward to seeing family members, including his parents and brother-in-law, out on the course supporting him.
“I’m excited to finish, just to see the finish line,” McLeese said. ‘I think it’s a really big achievement. It’s a goal that a lot of triathletes set for themselves.”
Malachi and Max Henry will be back in competition at Ironman Florida on Nov. 5 in Panama City. Max Henry did Ironman Florida last year and wants to see if he can better his time.
The Henrys also are trying to qualify for the 2017 World Championship in Kona, Hawaii. For the 25-29 men’s division, Malachi Henry has to go 9:30, which is about 33 minutes faster than his personal best.
For the 60-64 men’s division, Max Henry has to go 11:15 to qualify. His personal best is 12:33.
“You really can’t do it without the support of your family,” Scholar said. The long hours of training that you’re gone, your family is your biggest supporters.”