Posted by: Heart of America News | August 18, 2015

Feel The Heat-2015 Pigman Long

by Ron Adkins

Heart of America Triathlon News

View the Pigman Long Photo Gallery

Pigman RunnersA hot, muggy Iowa summer day didn’t deter a full field of triathletes from competing in the 2015 Pigman Long.

Nearly 500 racers hit the 81-degree Pleasant Creek Lake. While the water was too warm for wetsuits, it didn’t stop many swimmers from posting impressive times. The race started under overcast skies and surprisingly cool and pleasant conditions.

Those pleasant conditions didn’t last very long, however. The sun came out, the humidity grew thick, and the temps climbed into the 90’s. And yet, it didn’t deter the athletes or spectators from enjoying one of Iowa’s greatest triathlon traditions.

Blake Becker of Wisconsin dueled with perennial Pigman champ David Thompson for the men’s crown. The two were within a second of one another through the entire bike and most of the run. Becker won the head-to-head duel, however, edging Thompson with a winning time of 4:03:43.

On the women’s side, Dani Fischer of Indiana smoked the course. In her first season as a pro, she led the field for the entire race, winning in 4:31:43.

For complete race results, go to

Some traditions are meant to be broken, though. Race Director John Snitko treated everyone to some pleasant surprises for this year’s Big Pig. All three legs of the race were given a makeover. The bike and run courses were changed from the traditional out-and-back, which took racers away from the crowd, to a series of loops through the park.

This enabled much of the race to be held on roads which were closed to other traffic, making it a safer experience for competitors with the added benefit of allowing more contact with fans and family who had come out to cheer them on. Response to the changes were overwhelmingly positive.

“The old course was very good,” said Roger Cherry, “but this new route was much more enjoyable. Those out-and-backs took you through no-man’s land. You didn’t get much of a chance to see anyone else. This new way lets the people see you more and cheer you on. That’s huge when you’re pushing yourself.”

Another positive change was the addition of a VIP area, situated at the bike-in and bike-out of the transition. For a small fee, spectators could sit in the shade and enjoy catered food and drinks, and cheer on their favorite athletes in comfort. (For more on the new VIP area, see the related article.)

Even though a mid-August 70.3 race can be a daunting challenge, John and his staff have proven that when you combine great organization and attention to detail with imagination and creativity, you have one of the Midwest’s premier racing experiences

Posted by: Heart of America News | August 18, 2015

Pigman Changes Make for a Better Spectator Experience

by Ron Adkins

Heart of America Triathlon News

Pigman VIPsDespite the racing teams and tri clubs, triathlons are pretty much an individual sport. Racers generally train on their own, and for the most part, are out to beat their own personal bests, not to beat a particular competitor.

And those cheering them on are usually the loyal family members and significant others, standing in small groups with hand-made signs and cowbells. Except for Kona, and sometimes during the Olympics, triathlon coverage in the mainstream media is limited.

That’s why John Snitko’s brainstorm is such a great idea.

For the 2015 running of the Pigman Long, Snitko introduced a VIP area, complete with picnic tables, food and drinks, and a commanding view of the race. For a small fee, race fans could relax comfortably and cheer on their favorites.

“Having your own designated Porta-Potties alone is worth the price of the wrist band,” said volunteer Sue Schnelling.

Snitko, owner of JMS Racing Services and director of the Pigman triathlons, is a long-time superfan of triathlon and is always looking for ways to prosper the sport and to make race day an enjoyable experience for all involved.

With the new course layout,” he said, “I wanted to make sure the fans had a safe place to watch the race. It gets rough finding a place where you’re out of the way and can still see what’s going on.”

Snitko agrees that the sport of triathlon is growing stronger every season. More first-timers are entering the Heart of America series, bringing their entourage of family and friends to cheer them on. It’s also growing as a spectator sport. Fans of the race are coming out in greater numbers to experience the excitement of triathlons. Soon, such venues like a VIP area will be a necessity on race days.

Tim Palmer, a member of the Midwest Extreme Tri Club, and professional caterer, provided the food for the VIP area. He was impressed with the concept.

“I think John has really come up with a great idea. This is really trend-setting,” he said. “This area gives people a nice place to watch the action and enjoy some amenities at the same time. Places like this can only help draw more fans out for races.”

This sure beats sitting in a lawn chair on the side of the road,” said one fan enjoying a yogurt parfait and orange juice while doing the Sunday crossword. She paused for a moment to cheer her son out the transition and on to the bike course.

The placement of the VIP area was not only great for fans, but Palmer observed he thought there was another benefit.

“It can only help the performance of the runners,” he joked. “They’re going to smell hamburgers and sweet corn about a mile up the road. That kind of enticement can only improve their final times.”

A win-win for spectators and competitors alike.

Posted by: Heart of America News | August 15, 2015

Live Pigman Results

Pigman LongFollow your favorite racer live during the Pigman Long!

Whether you’re watching the Pigman Long live from the new spectator-friendly course, or checking on a friend from across the country, use the link below for live results.

The 2015 edition of the Pigman Long sports an all-new course. The entire 4 loop run will be within Pleasant Creek State Park, and spectators will be able to easily get to the bike course to cheer on bikers multiple times as they ride the 4 loop course. The park roads will be closed to traffic during the triathlon.

Click here for Live Results.

Posted by: Heart of America News | August 5, 2015

Pigman Long Course Rolls Out the Red Carpet

Pigman LongA special VIP section will provide friends and family of Pigman Long Course racers with the ultimate spectator experience on August 16.

Race director John Snitko has changed the bike and run course to provide spectators with multiple chances to cheer on the racers. The bike course will now include a loop that will pass by the entrance of the park multiple times.
The run will take place entirely within the park, making this one of the most spectator-friendly races in the country.

But that’s not all. The Pigman Long will also feature a unique VIP area, with covered seating, private restrooms, and refreshments. Attendees can also nosh on delicious refreshments that will range from breakfast items to a salsa and guacamole bar.

VIP passes are just $19 for adults. Availability is limited, so order yours today!

Posted by: Heart of America News | July 27, 2015

Camp Courageous 2015 – Smack Talk!

2014-08-03 12.13.10The Camp Courageous Sprint Triathlon is already a popular event, because of it’s racer-friendly course and mission to benefit the outstanding programs of Camp Courageous.

But this year, some smack talk is adding to the atmosphere.

Cedar Rapids radio personality Scott Schulte formed a team with the two past Survivor participants from Cedar Rapids, Denise Stapley (who won the show in 2012), and 2014 participant Sarah Lacina.

Scott Schulte, Running God

Scott Schulte, Running God

But in June, Scott opened up a letter on the air from Steve Davis, president of the Iowa HEAT Tri Club, announcing that the HEAT were putting together an all-star team, including some past Camp Courageous winners, to challenge Scott and the Survivors. On the line is a promise to purchase $250 in items from the Camp Courageous Wish List.

Never one to run from a challenge, Scott took up the gauntlet on behalf of his team, acknowledging with just a hint of desperation that it just might be Denise and Sarah who would have bear the brunt of the work.  Denise that may be so, as long as she can “overcome my irrational fear of sharks in Central Park Lake.”

Asked if he would like to say anything to his competitors, Iowa HEAT team leader Tom Rutkowski said “Oh, I don’t know that we need to trash talk; we’re happy to beat anybody for a good cause!”

Undaunted, the ever-fearless morning DJ proclaims, “If the Iowa HEAT think their best three can tack down the three of us… then they are two thirds sadly mistaken.”

But don’t count out a third team of ringers, Midwest XTreme Tri Club president Rosie Jones, her husband Blake, and Cedar Rapids mayor Ron Corbett will also complete.

Who will win the contest of bragging rights? You’ll have to go to Central Park in Jones County this Sunday to find out. But one thing is for sure, the real winners are the hundreds of individuals of all ages served by the staff and volunteers of Camp Courageous.

It’s not too late to register for the race. Do so at

Posted by: Heart of America News | July 19, 2015

Bluff Creek 2015-Warm But Fun

More Bluff Creek photos

2015-07-18 09.42.31

By Dennis Green, Heart of America News

Typical July weather greeted nearly 300 participants in the 2015 Bluff Creek Triathlon. But since temperatures had soared into the 90s the day before, a race time temperature of 72 with a breeze was definitely a relief. The only downside was the thousands of mosquitos who streamed into Don Williams Park for an early morning buffet.

2014 champion Zoe Sirotiak made it two in a row, capturing the women’s sprint crown in 1:14:15. David Roney of North Liberty topped the men with a 1:07:54.

Evan Cuthbert and Charity Fluharty won the Olympic races in 2:05:37 and 2:19:53.

It was an especially good day for the members of the Midwest Xtreme Tri Club. The racing Goldsmith brothers, Craig and Chad, won their age groups in the Sprint; as did Dave Steines, Katy Cater, Guy Olson, and Nancy Fox. Brita Loynachan topped her age group in the Olympic race.

Warm temperatures precluded wetsuits for the swim, which sometimes can add to the stress for racers who aren’t totally confident in the water. Age Group champ Roney said swimming without a suit wasn’t a problem for him.

“Not at all. In fact it may even have helped, as long as I can keep up with this guy,” he joked, jerking a thumb at teammate Guy Olson.

Ben Trnka of LaCrescent, Minnesota raced the Olympic distance in his first appearance at Bluff Creek, and said he loved the course.

“Especially that hill,” referring to a pretty steep incline cyclists hit first thing out of the park, but that provides a fast end to the Olympic bike.

Full results are at this link.

Posted by: Heart of America News | July 11, 2015

Bluff Creek 2015 Preview

2015 brings a new date for the Bluff Creek Triathlon. It will be the only Heart of America Series race to take place in July.

2014-08-10 10.03.30Hosting a July race in Iowa can be a gamble, particularly when your event includes the tough Olympic distance, but the weather outlook for July 18 will be seasonal. Most participants will be sitting in the shade by the time the heat of the day hits. But with Lake Geode taking the year off, race director Alex Syhlman grabbed the available date.

Bluff Creek features both a Sprint and Olympic distance race. It’s also a part of the Midwest Collegiate Triathlon Conference again this year. Competing will be the top triathletes from Iowa State University, University of Iowa, University of Minnesota, University of Wisconsin, and University of Nebraska.

The race takes place in scenic Don Williams Park, near Ogden, Iowa. The race begins with a point-to-point swim. Participants are bused from the transition area to the swim start. Alex reminds entrants to arrive a little early, as they must allow time to catch a shuttle, which runs from 7:00am to 7:35am.

The bike course winds through Boone County, One particularly challenging hill was used for a scene in the 1996 feature film “Tornado.”

The run course is flat, but the first and last quarter mile are on grass and the park trail. Olympic racers are reminded that they need to make two loops around the paved part of the course to complete their 10K.

The race is still accepting registrations, so if you are not doing RAGBRAI this year, or the idea of doing a race to break up the drive to Sioux City is appealing, visit to register.

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

Older Posts »



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 57 other followers