Adrian Frater, News Editor
The United States duo of Ben Greenfield and Michelle Harburg, both 29-year-old resident of Washington, DC, were crowned male at female champions, respectively, at yesterday fourth staging of the Jamaica International Triathlon at the Iberostar Resorts in Montego Bay.
Greenfield, who had back-to-third place finishes in 2009 and 2010, ran the new Olympic distance course, which featured a 1500m swim, a 40k bike ride and a 10k run, in a time of 2:16.4 to beat Jamaica's Brian Horvath (2:22.39) and South Africa's Johan Heath (2:25.58) into second and third, respectively.
"The course was quite good, it was beautiful and I really like it," stated Greenfield. "What I particular like was the variation the course offered. It was kind of like sightseeing."
For Harburg, winning was a most thrilling experience as she did not plan to contest the event and only did so after she got a bike to borrow. She won in a time of 2:42.08, beating fellow American Suzan Grant-Legacki into second place.
"I was pleasantly surprised that I did so well because I did not plan to compete and Rayne (Rayne Russell of the event organisers, Events Jamaica) offered to loan me a bike," said Harburg. "It was really a fantastic experience as I really enjoyed it."
In the sprint triathlon, which featured a 750m swim, 25k bike ride and a 5.8k run, Jamaica's Bobby Barnes was quite dominant, running away with the male title in a brisk 1:34.43, which was substantially faster than his compatriot, Christian Sale, and the United States' Nathan Hahn, who clocked 1:41.44 and 1:41.50, respectively.
On the female side, Michelle Fox of the United States won quite easily, leaving the field in her wake, while she fell in love with the course.
"It was a lot of fun out there," said Fox. "It was beautiful, breathtaking, interesting and great all in one, it was really a lovely experience."
In the duathlon, which featured only riding and running, it was a personal triumph for 55-year-old Montego Bay businessman Howard Ward, who landed his first major trophy in the event, which he won in a smart 1:43.00.
"I am a natural athlete so I expected to do well - winning makes it all that better," said Ward. "I was an athlete as a youngster, but I am fairly new to cycling."
National female cycling champion, 19-year-old Dahlia Palmer,took the women's duathlon in 1:47.10, even after she made an error and ended up covering one section of the course twice.
"I am happy I won, but had I not made the mistake the time would have been a lot better," conceded Palmer. "Hopefully I will get it right next time."