LACONIA — Aside from a few participants who needed minor medical attention, a 70.3-mile swim, bike, running event seemed to go off without a hitch on Sunday, with Tamara Jewett of Toronto finishing first in a time of 4:13:39, more than nine minutes ahead of her closest competitor.
“The course was good,” she said after she concluded the Ironman 70.3 Timberman race and caught her breath. “I really liked the last 30K of the bike course. It was really hilly and that played to my strength. It was kind of fun.”
She said she felt good all things considered.
“I was pretty tired at the end of that run, the last two miles felt rough, but it feels good to be done.”
This was her third such event this year.
Fire Chief Kirk Beattie said only one of the 800 competitors had to be brought to the hospital and was treated for cramping and dehydration. Several exhausted athletes were given attention at a medical tent after the race.
“Everything went really well,” he said. “There were doctors, nurses and other medical staff at the finish line.”
He said authorities staffed up an emergency center to be ready for any potential problems and emergency personnel were on hand at various portions of the course.
Female professionals were among the competitors. The event was not on the calendar for male professionals.
The race began about 7 a.m. and the last competitor finished about 3:50 p.m. Jewett finished at 11:03 a.m. She averaged 23.86 mph on the 56-mile bike ride, had an average time of 5:44 per mile for the 13.1-mile run and completed the 1.2-mile swim in 28:48.
Kurt Magnus, 51, a sales manager from Holderness, was happy with his showing. He finished 16th out of 57 men in his age group, crossing the line at 12:53 p.m. with a time of 5:45:01.
Magnus said he likes to compete.
“It’s a great form of exercise,” he said. “I started out as a bicyclist. This is a great way to balance three different sports, and the nice thing about it is that two of the three sports are low impact.
“I like the challenge of having something to hold myself accountable to, making sure I'm getting my workouts in, planning my time and staying healthy. Also, you meet a lot of people from the community and there is a lot of camaraderie.”
It can be hard to get up in the morning for the grueling workouts needed for such an event.
“But you're often rewarded with amazing views and you never regret it at the end of the workout,” he said.
He also said his high fitness level gives him greater energy throughout the day, and allowed him to drop 25 pounds.
Erica Russell, 57, a nurse practitioner from Tilton, finished about 30 minutes after Magnus.
She plans her days around her workout, and she often runs with her dog, a Rottweiler mix.
“I look at my schedule and decide what I'm supposed to be doing based on my responsibilities,” she said. “Some mornings I am up at 4 a.m. so I can do my workout and still be in to work by 8.”
Like many athletes who compete in such events, she joined a group and got instruction and coaching.
“I really got hooked,” she said. “I’m pretty competitive. I just found that I enjoyed it and I felt like I was good at it.”
She finished 4th out of 17 women athletes ages 55 to 59.
Sonya Misiaszek-Monterose, 52, co-owner of the Misiaszek-Turpin architecture firm in Laconia, finished at 2 p.m.
Contacted Monday, she said she feels good and even did a comfortable morning bicycle ride.
She trains about 20 hours a week, and compares the time commitment to that of a part-time job. The event seems daunting, but with proper training, most people could do it, she said.
She first learned to swim when she did a sprint triathlon competition as an adult. Now she’s comfortable in the water, where she recommends keeping one’s arms out wide at the start to avoid getting kicked in the head.
She finds the running to be the hardest part.
Her firm has been instrumental in the revitalization of the Colonial Theatre downtown, near the finish line.
“It’s kind of cool to be finishing in front of the Colonial Theatre,” she said. “This all spurs people to come downtown and enjoy the businesses.”
She’s hoping the race comes back to Laconia next year.