Posted by: Dennis Green | June 30, 2019

Smokin’ Debut – Ames Triathlon 2019


A late-June heat wave did little to dampen the spirits of 275 hardy souls who turned out at Ada Hayden Heritage Park for the inaugural Ames Triathlon.

When Hickory Grove had to go on hiatus due to a lake dredging project, race director Alex Syhlman immediately set his eyes on the beautiful facility on the north end of Ames. But it took several months to secure the necessary permissions to stage an event that involved swimming in the lake, which normally is reserved for fishing and boating.

But even though registration didn’t open until late April, interest was strong.

“We prepared for about 200 people,” Alex said, “but we blew right past that, and ended up near 300.”

The heat raised the lake temperature to 81 degrees on race day, making the event wetsuit-optional by USAT rules. But to a one, each racer shed their wet suit to hit the water.

“I loved the swim,” said Kathy Christensen. “No traffic perfect timing, the water was nice and cool.”

The bike course received praise as well, even though some racers ran into traffic headed for a nearby church. Pretty much everyone agreed the run was a beast, but spirits were high and participants praised the course and race organizers, who quickly added a second water stop on the run.

“We could have used the Kona Ice Truck at mile one,” laughed Courtney Packingham. “And two, and three!”

Three para-triathletes participated, Bob Molsberry, Nick Finer, and Jim Anderson. Bob has been racing in the para division for more than twenty years, after a RAGBRAI training accident cost him the use of his legs. Nick raced with the support of My Team Triumph, which included Dr. Jason Niegsch, whose Dentistry at Somerset was a race sponsor.

Check out the Ames Triathlon photo album at this link.

Brad Mitchell will forever own bragging rights as the Ames Triathlon’s first men’s champion, setting the first course record with a 1:09:11. The women’s crown went to Joy Carrol, with 1:14:08.

Full results at

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