Posted by: Heart of America News | June 20, 2015

Picture Perfect – 2015 Quad Cities Triathlon

Click on the image for more Quad Cities pictures.

Click on the image for more Quad Cities pictures.

730 participants agreed, perfect weather helped make for a perfect day at the 2015 running of the Quad Cities Triathlon.

“The temperature was just right, no wind. It was great,” Dave Steines of Mt. Vernon observed.

2015-06-20 07.49.55

Women’s champ Daniela Williams heads out on the run.

The Quad Cities race attracts veterans and first-timers alike to its flat course and sprint distance. Race director Eric Sarno and his volunteers have race operations down to a science, getting a large number of participants through the race  as smooth as the surface of West Lake.

Daniela Williams of North Liberty, who notched three championships in 2014, won her first crown of 2015, topping the women’s race with a time of 1:10:49. Hometown favorite Seth Long won the men’s race in 1:05:52.

Sarno doesn’t give out awards for perfect attendance, but he did recognize two races who have competed at each of the sixteen Quad Cities events, Ann Vestle of Cedar Rapids, and Fred Hemsath of St. Joseph, Michigan.

Full results are here.

Posted by: Heart of America News | June 7, 2015

Pigman Sprint 2015 – Another Year, Another Course Record

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Nearly 800 athletes did not get a good night’s sleep the night before the 2015 running of the Pigman Sprint, as thunderstorms boomed through Eastern Iowa, disturbing much-needed rest and causing worries about whether the race would even be held. But fortune smiled on race director John Snitko and his staff. Despite having to set up the race in a driving rain, the rain stopped and the JMS Racing crew got the race started with only a fifteen-minute delay.

The cool, cloudy day made for a fast field. Jackie Hering beat 2014 champ Heather Lindsay for the women’s crown, and also beat Lindsay’s course record from last year by thirty seconds, crossing the finish line in 1:06:25. Hering also won the $750 cash bonus for being the first person to cross the finish line in the Pigman gender-equalized start.

On the men’s side, perennial champ David Thompson was a last-minute entry. Just about as last-minute as you can get, in fact. Instead of his traditional #1, he wore bib #795, of 796 participants! But the extra weight of more ink on his bib didn’t slow him down, as he carded his twelfth Pigman Championship with a winning time of 1:01:39.

Full results at this link.

Posted by: Heart of America News | June 6, 2015

Live Pigman Results

Follow your favorite athlete during the race with Live Pigman Results. Follow either of the links below and enter the bib number or name of any participant to see which checkpoints they’ve cleared, or whether they have finished or not.

Click here for results on your phone or mobile device.

Click here for results on your laptop or desktop.Screenshot 2015-06-04 16.59.13

Posted by: Dennis Green | June 3, 2015

Series Races Cater to Newcomers

While the Heart of America series launches with Hickory Grove in May, for most racers the season truly begins in June with the Pigman Sprint and/or the Quad Cities Triathlon.2014-06-01 07.44.16

These two events are the most popular races in the series, often filling up shortly after the new year begins. Each also has the reputation of being extra-friendly to newcomers.

At the Pigman, now in its 24th year, race director John Snitko has seen two generations of racers debut as novices and grow to become experienced and sometimes elite athletes.  But the Pigman remains extra-friendly to beginners. John regularly posts and shares training tips, by email and at his site He also sometimes brings in clinicians, like Pigman course record holder David Thompson, to share stories and tips.

Quad Cities director Eric Sarno takes his obligation to provide a good experience to novices extra-seriously.

“I give my phone number out to every racer,” he says. “Other race directors think I’m crazy, but I want every participant to know that if they have a question, they can reach out to me at any time.”

Because triathlon combines three different disciplines, with the added complication of transitioning from swim to bike to run, triathlon may have the biggest learning curve of any sport. It’s extra-important for beginners to know that any question they may have has probably been asked before. But this doesn’t mean they should be afraid to ask. It simply means odds are the question can be answered quickly and easily.

“I want everyone to understand that they’re not the first person to be nervous, or to ask a particular question,” Sarno continues. “My biggest worry is beginners who don’t ask questions. It’s the people who show up day of race late, or don’t know where to go, or don’t know how or where to rack their equipment that can make everyone else’s job harder. No one should ever feel intimidated about asking. We’re prepared for and welcome both the beginner and the experienced triathlete.”

Even though both races are closed, the Pigman and Quad Cities websites contain a wealth of information and training tips that can benefit you even if you aren’t doing that particular race.  Visit them at:

Posted by: Heart of America News | May 25, 2015

Hickory Grove 2015: Soggy Day Can’t Dampen Spirits

By Ron Adkins
Heart of America Triathlon News

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The threat of rain couldn’t stop triathletes from lacing up for the 2015 running of the Hickory Grove Triathlon Sprint, Duathlon, and Aquabike on Sunday, May 17.

200 competitors hit the course at Hickory Grove State Park near Colo, Iowa, on what threatened to be a chilly, soggy day. The persistent rains of the past week were the only concern going into race day, said co-director Alex Sylhman. Those concerns evaporated, however, when the first racers crossed the lines. All had positive reports on the condition of the bike and run courses.

“It was beautiful out there,” said Brita Loynachan. “The trail was in great shape and the roads were nice and dry.” Loynachan posted a 1:27:01 in the triathlon and came in first in her age group.

Racers of all ages, however, posted some great times. Overall winners of the triathlon were Patrick Davis with a 1:03:44 and Jessica Rossing with a 1:15:18. First across the finish line in the duathlon were Jonathan Estabrook, posting a 1:09:00 and Tonya Armstrong, coming in at 1:24:07. Aquabike winners were John Neer with a 48:39 and Zoe Sirotiak with a 59:20.

Complete race results can be found at

As the gray clouds passed, giving way to blue skies and sunshine, the main topic of discussion turned from weather to stories of athletes’ personal triumphs.

2014 Heart of America Series champion Guy Olson raced against his doctor’s advice. He won his age group, finishing with a 1:24:20 despite a persistent knee injury. “The doctor strongly suggested I stay away from racing until this thing heals up properly.” Olson added with a grin, “Yeah, I just couldn’t do that.”

The story of the race was, without a doubt, that of 91-year-old Robert Powers. Robert completed the duathlon in great form, crossing the line to the cheers of his fellow athletes.

While the 2014 Cy-Man is officially the first race of the 2015 season, Hickory Grove launches the Heart of America Series calendar. If all the races of the season run as smooth as Hickory Grove, said Sylhman, it’s going to be a great season of triathlons.

Posted by: Heart of America News | January 25, 2015

2015 Heart of America Season Announced

There are some changes to the Iowa triathlon scene for 2015. Some we’re excited about, some not so much.

One change that has us looking forward to August is the debut of a new, spectator-friendly course for the Pigman Long Course. The 13.1 mile run will take place entirely within Pleasant Creek Park, with several loops so you can cheer on the racers. The bike course is changing to be more viewer-friendly, too. It will pass by the entrance to the park multiple times, at a spot easily accessible to spectators. Full details at

On the not-as-fun side, the Lake Geode Challenge will not be held this year. We hope this hiatus is short, and that this fun and challenging race will be back in 2016.

So This year, the Heart of America series will consist of eight races. Bluff Creek has moved to Lake Geode’s traditional July date.

Here is the full 2015 schedule:

Series points are awarded for participating in each race, not matter where you finish.  Series winners receive free entries into each of next year’s races.


There are no additional steps or hidden costs to participate in this series. When you complete one of the races in the series, your points will be automatically calculated and posted on this website.


  • Participants are awarded full points for all races they complete during the year.
  • Overall winners (male & female) receive 1,000 points.
  • Each participant earns points based on the percentage behind the overall winner. As an example, if your time is 20 percent slower than the overall winner, you will receive 800 points.
Posted by: Dennis Green | December 20, 2014

Registration Open for Pigman, Marion Arts Fest Races

2014-08-17 13.04.12Looking for a gift for the athlete on your list? How about registering him or her for their favorite race?

Registration is now open for the Pigman Sprint, Pigman Long (with the new spectator-friendly course) and the Marion Arts Fest Half-Marathon and 5K.

Register for all three and get special early-bird savings!

Like the Pigman page on Facebook for race updates, or visit for information and registration.

Posted by: Dennis Green | December 3, 2014

Pigman Long Announces Spectator-Friendly Course

bigpigFriends and spectators at the Pigman Long Course will be able to cheer for their favorite athlete throughout the run without ever leaving Pleasant Creek Park in 2015. The race is debuting a new course, designed specifically to make it a more pleasant experience for spectators.

“Triathlons are among the toughest sporting events to participate in as an athlete. They’re also among the toughest to watch as a spectator,” says race director John Snitko in a blog post announcing the change. “While athletes have the drama and glory at the finish, they have little to help them through the tough middle stretches of longer races.”

That will change for the Pigman Long, allowing spectators to view the entire run, which will loop through the Park. Snitko has arranged with the Iowa DNR to close the entire park to traffic for the duration of the race.

The bike course is changing to be more viewer-friendly, too. It will pass by the entrance to the park multiple times, at a spot easily accessible to spectators.

Because of these changes, race registrations will be capped at 500. Registration begins December 20.

Snitko says re-designing the run course will benefit not only spectators, but participants as well. “Ask any athlete if having encouragement on the run course is important. Most will answer with an enthusiastic “Yes!”

Snitko says a VIP viewing area will also be available. Details on the new course, viewing areas and more are at

You can also read the full announcement on the Pigman Blog.

Posted by: Dennis Green | September 21, 2014

CyMan 2014 – ‘Thar She Blows

By Dennis Green

Heart of America News

2014-09-21 10.48.15


That was Joe McGrath’s one-word assessment of CyMan, held Sept. 21 at Kinney Park near Bondurant, Iowa.

The morning dawned cool and clear, but as race time neared, the breeze picked up, gusting a steady 20 mph through the entire race. The wind caused scenic but pocket-sized Lake Petocka to have something we don’t often see in Iowa’s small, land-locked lakes: Whitecaps.

“I made that first turn in the swim right into the wind,” said Ron Ottaway, “and it was like I was standing still. I couldn’t get a glide going at all.”

A windy swim can be difficult enough, but fighting a headwind on the bike really makes a triathlon challenging, and most participants agreed the wind amped things up considerably.

But the CyMan run course ends with a half-mile loop around the lake, one of the prettiest finishes in any midwest triathlon, so by the time people crossed the finish line, most were smiling again.

2014 was the first year CyMan offered an Olympic as well as a sprint distance, mainly to provide an opportunity for collegiate racers to gain points. Kris Spoth of White Bear Lake, Minnesota edged Best Dam Triathlon champ Joshua Madson of North Liberty for the men’s overall crown. Anne Hilleman from Huxley won the women’s race. Collegiate division winners were Samuel Kohll of Omaha, and Malorie Gaber from the host Iowa State team.

The HOA Champions Wave

The HOA Champions Wave

The Sprint race once again served as the Championship race for the Heart of America series, with 21 series points champs racing for series crown. Both the men’s and women’s winners raced in the Champions wave, David Roney from Ankeny and Elaina Mertens from Dubuque.

The Heart of America Series uses an age-equalization formula developed by USA Track and Field to weight the different ages, and once those weightings were applied, the Champions wave looked like this:







  1. Kim Sprenger2014-09-21 13.13.03
  2. Elaina Mertens
  3. Ann Vestle
  4. Kathryn Cater
  5. Pat Kenel


  1. Guy Olson
  2. Ron Ottaway
  3. David Roney
  4. Jason Rabe
  5. Dan Tucker

Full Cyman results are at this link. Heart of America Series results are here.


Posted by: Heart of America News | September 16, 2014

2014 Heart of America Champions Wave!

hoaSMThirty-four winners of the 2014 Heart of America (HOA) Championship series have the opportunity to race for the Championship crown Sunday, Sept. 21 at Cyman.

Throughout the season, all athletes who participate in an HOA race get points for each race they do. At the end of the season, we recognize the top three overall point winners, top masters, and first place in each age group. The more you race, regardless to some extent, of where you place, the higher your potential standings.

Each HOA champ gets the opportunity to race in the Champions wave. The top five athletes in the wave, in both male and female divisions, win free entries to HOA races in 2015

Participants of any age could claim the top prize, as times are age-adjusted according the formula used by U.S. Track & Field.

Heart of America points earned by Cyman participants this year will count toward series points next year.

Here are the champions!

Female Overall:
  • Kim Sprenger
  • Patricia Kenel
  • Kathryn Cater
Male Overall:
  • Guy Olson
  • Chad Goldsmith
  • Craig Goldsmith


  • Ann Vestle
  • Joe McGrath

19 & Under:

  • Meghan Hackett
  • Sam Lundry


  • Anna Moynihan
  • David Roney


  • Elaina Mertens
  • Adam Kassem


  • Joanna Hall
  • Jason Rabe


  • Janae Gross
  • Lane McMullen


  • Melissa Clow
  • Mathieu Cagnard


  • Jody Rausch
  • Jason Aarhus


  • Tami Fiala
  • Ted Olson


  • Belinda Gee
  • Richard Wyss


  • Clara Decoster
  • Dan Tucker


  • Vida Luth
  • Lynn Vogt


  • Sandy Campbell
  • Fred Hemsath


  • Ron Ottaway


  • Lyle Roberts

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