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
Posted by: Dennis Green | September 15, 2014

Best Race By A Dam Site

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by Dennis Green

Heart of America Triathlon News

Iowa’s Best Dam Triathlon welcomed over 300  athletes on a cool September morning. Held in the shadow of the Coralville Dam, the race attracts a large contingent of college racers, looking to move up in collegiate standings, in addition to local and regional athletes.

The race is also the final points event for the Heart of America series, so many series regulars were there to pile up a few more points prior to next week’s Heart of America championship at CyMan.

Joshua Madsen of North Liberty made it two in a row, winning the Men’s Sprint race for the second year. Bluff Creek Champ Adam Kassem took second. Elaina Mertens of Dubuque won the women’s race, with Kim Sprenger of Iowa City just a minute behind. Second place will probably be good enough for Kim to repeat as the Heart of America points champ in 2014.

Many of the nation’s top collegiate triathletes raced the Olympic distance, also the standard for college competition. Heading into the day, Wisconsin’s Robbie Greco was looking to stay atop the collegiate leaderboard, but could only manage second place to Brian Gorman of Minnesota.

On the women’s side , it was also a good day for the Gophers, as Jessica Finley took the crown.

In the Olympic open competition, Anna Kropornicka, a native of Poland attending the University of Wisconsin, won the women’s race. Brent Fiegel of Buffalo, Iowa, won among the men.

Full results at JMS racing’s results area on, where you can also check the final Heart of America standings when they are posted early next week.

Posted by: Dennis Green | September 10, 2014

Best Damn Tri 2014 Is Set and Ready

By Ron Adkins

Heart of America Triathlon News

2013-09-08 09.24.06Iowa’s Best Dam Triathlon 2014 is set to live up to its reputation, says Race Director Michael Considine.

The IBDT, says Considine, is a popular race for collegiate triathletes, competitors in the Heart of America series, and newcomers to the sport. Considine expects to see lots of inter-collegiate racers from around the Midwest return to represent their schools. The Best Dam Tri is also the second-to-last race in the Heart of America series and the final chance for HOA competitors to move up in the standings. With such a strong field at all levels, expect some seriously fast times.

Racers take to the course Sunday, September 14 at Coralville Reservoir near Iowa City, Iowa. Start time is set for 8:00am for both the Sprint (500-yard swim, 10-mile bike, 5k run) and Olympic (1.5k swim, 40k bike, 10k run) distances. The bike course is especially scenic, crossing the Coralville dam which gives the race its name.

According to Considine, race conditions look very good. “The lake is in great shape,” he says. “I was a little concerned about the bike course for a while. Last week they’d put down new surface on a section of the road.” But, he explains, as traffic continues to compact the new tarmac, that stretch of the course is looking better and better. “Everything is coming together nicely,” says Considine.

Late-season races always come with the worry of unpredictable weather. Considine, though, is confident that the current weather patterns will hold out. At last check, he says, the forecast calls for a beautifully sunny, 67-degree day.

This is Considine’s first year as race director of Iowa’s Best Dam Triathlon. And while new to this race, he is no novice to the sport. He’s currently the president of the TriHawks Triathlon Club and comes to the race with an impressive resume of numerous other events, including the Warrior Challenge a four-mile urban obstacle race held each spring in Iowa City.

“It’s a little different putting together a triathlon,” Considine says, “but I feel really good.”

For more information on Iowa’s Best Dam Triathlon, log on to

Posted by: Heart of America News | August 23, 2014

Sandy Campbell Is Just Getting Started

By Ron Adkins

Heart of America Triathlon News

2014-08-03 11.12.48A great joy of triathlons is encountering extraordinary people who lace up for these races. These people know full well they will never get rich or famous racing. They do it to fulfill a personal goal, to tick off a bucket list item, or to run in honor someone else.

Sandy Campbell of Palatine, Illinois, is one such person. She considers herself a “late bloomer,” since she didn’t take up racing triathlons until she was 60.

Now, at age 71, this late bloomer is a veteran, having crossed the finish line more times than many competitors half her age. “I started doing half a dozen a year,” she says, “but now I’m up to maybe twelve every season.”

Sandy’s most recent accomplishment was a strong finish in the 2014 Camp Courageous Tri Sprint, where she posted a 1:48:37. It was her second time at Camp Courageous.

“I’ve done two Olympics,” says Sandy, “but the rest of my races have all been sprints.

She became interested in the sport because her son, Erik, raced triathlon. He eventually coaxed her from cheering him on to competing with him in local races.

And while she’s a great fan of triathlons and a very vocal cheerleader, there are certain parts Sandy could do without. “I hate running,” she laughs. “I love swimming and I love biking.”

Her absolute favorite aspects of racing, she adds, are the people she meets and the cause that gives her the energy to compete.

“You get to meet so many nice people,” says Sandy, who has made a lot of good friends by getting to know them at races.

The most fulfilling part of it all, she says with a big smile, is her association with I Run 4. This international organization matches runners with “honorary runners” – men and women who, because of a disability or disease, is unable to compete. “You get out and race in their honor,” says Sandy, “then you send them any medals or awards.”

Racers often compete in special t-shirts honoring their match and then send photographs showing that they are there in spirit and were an inspiration. The result, says Sandy, is that racer and honorary runner are motivated to greater accomplishments. It is also an excellent way to raise awareness of disabilities of all types.

With her son and her honorary runner to give her motivation, Sandy says she has no plans to retire from triathlons any time soon.

She’s just getting warmed up.

Posted by: Heart of America News | August 18, 2014

Pigman Long 2014-Come for the Competition, Stay for the Carbs

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By Ron Adkins

Heart of America Triathlon News

Everyone brought their “A” game to the Pigman Long Course and Olympic Triathlon.

Athletes came from across the country to test themselves against the signature race of the Heart of America Triathlon Series.

Thick morning fog threatened to delay the Sunday, August 17 start at Pleasant Creek State Park near Palo, Iowa. But as the sun rose, so did the haze, and swimmers hit the wetsuit-legal, 72-degree lake right on time.

Daniel Bretscher of Mt. Vernon, Iowa, beat perennial champion David Thompson of Long Lake, Minnesota, earlier this season at the Pigman Sprint, and the Olympic race was something of a rematch.

But Thompson was not to be denied, shattering Bretscher’s 2013 course record by nearly four minutes, posting, posting a 1:54:56. Bretscher was second at 2:02:11.

Both men now hold the distinction of being the only people to have won all three Pigman races Sprint, Olympic and Long Course. And Thompson now holds course records for all three.

Lesley Smith of Coralville, Iowa, took top Olympic female honors with a 2:11:26.

The Long Course competition came down to a horse race between two Wisconsans. Adam Bohach of La Crosse and Thomas Gerlach of Madison came off the bike at virtually the same time, leaving transition just 1.3 seconds apart. Bohach pulled ahead on the run, however, and never looked back, carding a 3.57.21 for the win.

Morgan Chaffin of Elkhorn, Nebraska, won the women’s crown with a time of 4:36:25. nearly six minutes ahead of the rest of the pack.

Full results at

If you leave the Pigman hungry, don’t blame race director John Snitko. He pulls out all the stops with sponsors supplying tons of treats. In addition to the usual fresh fruit and cookies post-race, athletes also feasted on pizza, spaghetti and artisan bread.

The intense level of competition brought to every Pigman has earned the race its reputation as on of the Midwest’s best. Hundreds of out-of-state triathletes drive long hours to run the Big Pig. They do this knowing that top-level triathletes will be out to set course records and capture top honors.

Strong competition fuels everyone to conquer personal goals.

Posted by: Heart of America News | August 17, 2014

Pigman live results

Follow your favorite Pigman racer using JMS Racing’s live results, optimized for mobile.

Just click on this link and enter their bib number!


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