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 number, and ended up near 300.”

The heat raised the lake temperature to 81 degrees on race day, and to a one, each racer shed their wet suits for the swim, which proved to be the race’s main highlight, as the temperature was over 90 by the time most racers hit the run.

Pretty much everyone agreed the run was a beast, but spirits were high and participants praised the course and race organization.

“I loved the swim,” said Kim Sprenger.

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

Published by Dennis Green

Middle-aged public radio manager, occasional writer and stage performer. You can find me at the Washington H.S. pool many mornings at 5:30am.

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