Aussie wins sprint triathlon

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Trent Renshaw of Sydney, Australia was the fastest finisher at the 28th annual St. Albert Triathlon

Trent Renshaw continued his excellent adventure in Canada at the St. Albert Triathlon.

The globetrotting triathlete from Sydney, Australia was the winner of the 28th annual sprint distance race in one hour, six minutes and 20 seconds.

Last weekend Renshaw was the top sprint finisher at the Canmore Road Triathlon & Duathlon at 1:14:04 and last month the 37-year-old sprint racer was first in his 35 to 39 age division at the Peach Classic in Penticton at 1:10:04 for sixth overall and at the Heart of the Rockies in Invermere at 1:09:14 for fourth overall.

“I’ve been on a pretty good roll,” Renshaw said with a champion’s smile after the 750-metre swim, 20-kilometre bike and five-km run.

Sunday’s result, however, was an unexpected surprise.

“I didn’t expect to win today because this race normally attracts quite a lot of the really good up-rising stars that are part of the triathlon Alberta association,” Renshaw said. “I thought I may win my age group (30 to 39) but to come away with first overall I’m pretty stoked.”

Three years ago, Renshaw was the fifth-fastest finisher in the St. Albert race at 1:03:08 for first place in the 30 to 34 division.

“I have family friends in Spruce Grove so this race just always happens to be at the right time of the year in terms of time I can get away from work and opportunity to go stay with family friends,” said the software engineer who switches every year between events in Europe and North America and next year he plans to race in southeast Asia.

“I do mostly sprint. It does seem to favour me but (Saturday) I race Olympic distance in Montana, the Polson triathlon.”

Renshaw overcame a slow time in the pool with a blistering run to beat out Maciej Gancarczyk of Edmonton, the runner-up at 1:07:02, and James Thomson of St. Albert, the third-place racer who was also the fastest U19 male at 1:08:23.

Luis Franco of Edmonton placed fourth at 1:08:26 and Stephen Bourdeau of St. Albert was fifth at 1:08:49 as 67 of the 125 finishers were male.

“I had a pretty poor swim (11:53). All those in my heat actually climbed out of the pool ahead of me,” Renshaw said. “I managed to hold a good position on the bike (34:44) and then the run (19:45) is where I stole it.”

As for the course, which featured a tweak to the transition area, Renshaw said, “It’s sort of a plummet downhill and then it’s a climb up and then you get the plummet and climb again. It was made a little tougher on the bike this year because of the wind. To get an uphill and head wind is never any fun.”

The victory ranks among Renshaw’s very best achievements in the sport.

“Every time I win I say it’s an accomplishment so I can’t really put any one particular race ahead of the other but to come away with first overall today I’m really pleased,” sad the five-foot-seven “and about 130 pounds” Aussie.

First female

The female winner was Lisa Ulrich of St. Albert at 1:08:54 for sixth place overall.

“It’s my hometown race and one of my favourite races so it’s awesome. I love this race,” said Ulrich, who is back on the competitive circuit after giving birth to twin girls 13 months ago.

“I’m thrilled just to be able to race in this race.”

Andrea Bowman of Spruce Grove was the next fastest female at 1:15:55 for 14th place, followed by Tari Kelly of Sturgeon County at 1:16:33 for 15th place and Cassandra Mastel-Marr of Edmonton at 1:17:29 for 18th place as the U19 female division winner.

Ulrich, 37, was clocked at 10:47 in the swim, 34:41 on the bike and 23:27 on the run.

“I actually had a pretty good swim. I had a nice lane with only myself and one other. It was quiet and it felt pretty good,” said the Strathcona Lords alumna. “I just went as hard as I could on the bike. It was a little windy but it wasn’t bad and the run was actually pretty good. I tried to maintain a pace on the up and downs and do the best I could. It was hard but it was good.”

As for Ulrich’s performance, “It was about what I thought I could do this year,” she said of the third and last race of the season and the first St. Albert Triathlon since 2013 as the second-best female and eighth overall finisher at 1:07:25.

“This year it’s just about getting back into it because I had twins a year ago and I was out of commission for racing,” Ulrich added. “It took a while to get back to some sort of decent fitness so it was a steady gradual kind of I guess build. I didn’t start out too crazy, I started out really slow and just kind of gradually built over about six months.

“It’s been working out pretty well.”

Starting in April, a series of 10-km races while pushing the twins in a chariot led to the Wasa Lake Olympic Triathlon in June at Cranbrook, B.C. and in Ulrich’s first triathlon in two years was the fourth female for 21st overall at 2:24:19, which was a tad slower than her 2013 result.

Three weeks later, Ulrich was in fine form at the Great White North Triathlon as the female winner in the Olympic distance (1.5-km swim, 40-km bike, 10-km run) at 2:35:45 for sixth overall.

“I was just absolutely thrilled and happy to get first female in that one,” said Ulrich, who has competed in ITU world age group championship and Ironman races in the past.

FAST TIMES: The podium finishers in the try-a-tri Sunday were Leanna Carriere of St. Albert at 42:43, Amanda Gnenz of St. Albert at 43:24 and Barry McKean at 46:08 as 22 newbies completed the 250m swim, 10-km bike and 2.5-km run.

The first-place sprint relay team was the St. Albert trio Doing it for Dad at 1:15:07.

Visit www.resultscanada.com for results of the St. Albert Triathlon.

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Jeff Hansen

Jeff Hansen joined the St. Albert Gazette in 1991. He writes about sports, athletes and teams from St. Albert and area.