Canadian athlete Matt Straatman, from Ontario, won the mens 20-24 age group standard duathlon at the International Triathlon Union Multisport Championships in Penticton on Monday. He placed third overall. Kristi Patton/Penticton Western News

Americans sweep age group standard duathlon

Americans take gold in Multisport Age Group Standard duathlon

The Americans brought out the brooms to sweep the Multisport Age Group Standard Duathlon Monday in Penticton.

Albert Harrison (25 to 29) busted through the finish line ribbon to win the five-kilometre run, 40-km bike and 5-km run in one hour 51 minutes eight seconds. Taking the female side was Kirsten Sass (35 to 39) in 2:02:17.

“It’s pretty good. This has been my goal for a year or more,” said Harrison. “To come here and do it, … you never really know what the competition is going to be. It’s really sweet. I would like to be in the elite division, but I didn’t make that this year. It’s pretty sweet to come here and win and running away with it.”

Great Britain’s Lee Piercy was second overall in 1:52:04, while Canadian Matt Straatman took third, but won his age group of 20 to 24.

“It’s unbelievable. My race couldn’t have gone better for myself,” said Straatman. “I knew what my limits were. I pushed them as hard as I could. This is the best result I could expect here.”

Canadian Melissa Paauwe won the 30 to 34 age group and was second overall in 2:04:47, in what she described as a strong field.

“You don’t always get that in duathlon. That’s what I was really excited about with this event,” said Paauwe. “Fast runners right out of the gate. I relied on my bike. I went hard on the bike. This is where it landed me.”

Finishing second overall was surreal for her as she found the course mentally challenging.

“You are constantly battling with emotions,” she said. “Pull harder, pull back. You don’t really know. I just stay within my own head.”

Mexico’s Jose Aureliano Valenzuela Roman captured the Paratriathletes Sprint title. Valenzuela crossed the finish line after completing the 5-km run, 20-km bike and 2.5-km run in 1:05:23. Valenzuela’s objective was to better his performance in Avila, Spain last year.

“The route was comfortable. I was relaxed and the last part of the race, while I was cycling, I felt really under pressure, but I finally did it,” Valenzuela said through a translator.

Valenzuela became a para athlete after he was part of an accident during a race nearly 30 years ago in which a vehicle crashed into 20 cyclists. He had a broken left arm. Winning this world championship was about doing it for young athletes and kids.

Fiona Southern of New Zealand won the women’s championship in 1:10:29. She was followed by Australia;s John Domandl and Jessica Toumela of Canada. Canadian Jon Dunkerley wasn’t able to finish the race as he encountered bike problems, which trouble him in the past.

“It’s an unbelievable experience. It really is,” said Domandl. “We (he and his guide) perservered. We stuck with it. We knew we could do it.”

The event is only a warmup as he also intends to the Aquathlon and the Long Course distance.

“We’re too old to do the short stuff,” he joked.

Tuomela completed the course in 1:20:45.

“I have never done duathlon before. It was pretty hard,” she said. “I was very happy with it. Running is something I have been working on for the last three months. This was a little bit intimidating.”

Toumela enjoyed the course, which she felt was fair and a perfect challenge.

Penticton has athletes competing on home turf. On opening day in the sprint duathlon, Ian Ross (70-74), who competed in the ITU worlds in Avila, Spain, finished in 1:36:15. He placed 509th out of 681 athletes and 11 of 17 in his category. In today’s event, Sybilla Bartram placed eighth in the 60 to 64 age category finishing in 2:41:07. Deborah Chadwick, 55 to 59, placed 10th in her category after clocking in at 2:40:37. Doug Howard, 55 to 59, was 29th finishing in 2:24:44 and Murray MacPherson, 65 to 69, was second in his group, finishing in 2:20:06. S. Paul Varga placed 41st in the 50 to 54 age group. He finished in 3:15:57.