The Hardwick Gazette

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Vermont’s Ironman Competitors Finish High in Standings

by Jim Flint

CALELLA, Spain / KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii  ̶  Half a world apart, a former Sterling College student and an Adamant physical therapist competed in full Ironman Triathlon championship events last week. The grueling Ironman includes a 2.5-mile swim, 112-mile bike, and 26.2-mile marathon, plus two transitions.

For Lance Parker, 28, Ironman Barcelona was his first full triathlon. He qualified for Barcelona at the Ironman Maine 70.3 Triathlon on July 31. The Ironman 70.3 event is half the distance of a full Ironman. 

Parker placed 23rd of 1,214 finishers at the Augusta event. His time of four hours, 28 minutes, and nine seconds ranked sixth in the M25-29 age group. That punched his ticket for the October 2 race in Barcelona.

The Barcelona Ironman field included 2,222 starters from dozens of countries. Among the 1,820 finishers, Parker was the top American. He broke the ten-hour barrier, completing the event in 9:50:45. 

Coming out of the swim leg, Parker ranked 742nd in the race. His time was 1:16:56. Parker went on a tear in the bike leg, moving up to 98th place. He pedaled 112 miles in 4:53:13. His strong marathon leg of 3:31:37 pulled him into 59th place, good for 12th place in the M25-29 age group.

Smyers, 65, has 37 years of triathlon races under her belt. She has coached dozens of triathletes, including Parker. In 2018, she was inducted into the USA Triathlon Hall of Fame.

Ironman Kona is the world championship event for full triathlons. Smyers competed in her first Ironman Kona in 1993, placing third in the F35-39 age group. She won age group world championships at Kona six times between 1997 and 2009.

Smyers last competed at Kona in 2012, when she placed second in the F55-59 age group. She qualified for the 2022 Kona World Championship by competing in the Ironman 70.3 Hawaii Triathlon on June 4. Smyers placed 224th of 1,211 finishers. Her time of 5:42:02 ranked first in the M65-69 age group.

The Kona Ironman women’s world championship was on October 6. Smyers was in 1,541st place after the swim leg. Her swim time of 1:20:52 ranked fifth in her age group. 

Like Parker, bicycling is Smyers’ best event. She overtook her age group competitors and moved up to 1,334th place overall. Her time on the bike was 6:16:42. 

Smyers’ marathon time of 4:31:33 was the second fastest in her age group. She ended the race in 1,223rd place among 2,318 Ironman finishers of diverse ages and genders. Her bike leg created enough gap to secure the F65-69 age group world championship. Smyers crossed the Ironman finish line in 12 hours, 22 minutes, and 38 seconds.

Parker’s and Smyers’ Ironman experiences are much richer in detail than their times and finish places. Watch for the stories behind their stories in upcoming issues of the Hardwick Gazette.

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