Record high temperatures welcomed triathletes to the IronKids Columbia triathlon on June 30th.  Stephens Lake Park welcomed the triathletes to an open water swim venue with a challenging hilly loop bike course and a flat fast run course.  Temperatures were over 105 degrees for many days surrounding the event.  The organizers did a GREAT job of getting everything under control so the event could go off without a hitch.

The senior division took to the course for the first of three races.  The distances were 300 yard swim, 8 mile bike and a 2 mile run.  Erika Shellenberger, a 13-year-old member of the Tri Tornadoes was racing for a top 5 finish and a trip to the National Championship in Des Moines, IA on September 1st.  Erika had a strong swim, she started at the back of her age group on the time trial start so she could track down the leaders.  Erika was out of the water in 5:09 which put her close to the race leaders.  Erika had an outstanding T1 that put her in 3rd place going onto the bike course.  Once on the bike it became apparent that it was a three girl race for the podium.  Three girls put themselves out in front of the field and the three of them would put their skills on the line to see who would win the race.  The race leaders had approximately 16 seconds on Erika coming out of T1 and they added an additional 30 seconds to their lead on the hot, hilly bike course.  Erika’s bike time of 23:43 was good enough to keep her close to the leaders as they maintained a 45 second lead coming out of T2.  One of the leaders started to fade on the first loop of the 2 loop, 2 mile run course.  Erika was on FIRE on the run course.  She made up the 45 second deficit and closed on the leader after the first mile of the run.  As Erika and the leader made their way out for lap 2 of the run, Erika knew she needed to hang close to the leader for a shot at the win.  As the  run came down to the end the other athlete tried to make a break and drop Erika enough to ensure victory, but Erika hung tough and stayed close to the leader and finished close enough to her to ensure a 17 second victory for Erika.  That is the beauty of a time trial start….you don’t have to pass them on the course, you just have to run the course faster than they do!!  Erika outran the second place finisher by 1:03, posting a 14:53 run split to claim victory on the run course and a spot at Nationals!!  WAY TO GO ERIKA!!!

The intermediate division started next with race distances of 150 yard swim, 4 mile bike and a 1 mile run.  Drew Shellenberger, a 10-year-old member of the Tri Tornadoes was racing.  Drew started out as the fourth 10-year-old in the swim and blistered the swim course in 2:44 (the second fastest split of the day).  This put him in great position to race from the front.  Drew then posted the 4th fastest bike split of 12:13 to put him in a tie for second place overall in the intermediate race heading out onto the run.  Drew then posted the 3rd fastest run split of 7:22 to finish in 22:19, which was good for 3rd overall and 1st in the 10-year-old age group to earn a trip to Nationals.  GREAT JOB DREW!!

Other Kids Tri For Kids competitors, Thomas Brelage, an 11-year-old from Fishers, IN, finished 6th overall, 2nd in his age group with a time of 22:57 and the 2nd fastest run split of 7:02.  Another sister/brother combination, this one from Chandler, IN, the McCleary’s,  Meili and Elias also competed in the race.  Meili finished 33 overall in the intermediate division and 3rd in her age group with a time of 27:46 to earn a trip to the National Championship.  Elias finished 21st overall and 9th in his age group with a time of 25:58.  Anthony Reis an 8-year-old from Evansville, IN won the junior division race with a time of 11:12.  He set the standards for all three disciplines, with a 2:06 swim, a 6:43 bike and a 2:23 run to lead the 50 yard swim, 2 mile bike and 500 yard run junior division.

Overall it was a GREAT Day at the races and the Tri Tornadoes had a fantastic day posting 1st place finishes in both the 13-year-old girls and 10-year-old boy races.  Congratulations to all who raced and earned the coveted IronKids National Champion spots.  See you all in Des Moines, IA on September 1st!!