By Jean DePlacido
---- — SALEM — On a perfect day for swimming, biking, and running close to 300 people participated in the Witch City Triathlon at Forest River Park yesterday morning. Several top performers came long distances for the event which is hosted by the YMCA and is a sprint triathlon with a half mile swim, 13 mile bike ride, and 3.1 (5K) run through Salem and Marblehead.
“It’s a fabulous venue, and we’ve had so many great responses from competitors,” said race director Bill Burnett of Streamline Events. “This is the second year I’ve been the director, and and it’s a huge undertaking because we’re in two communities. We had a great crowd, and the weather was on our side. People loved the course, especially the bike ride through (Marblehead) Neck.”
The overall top male finishers in the Elite Class were Justin Roeder of Indiana, who had a very fast time of 56:33, Cameron Piper of Westborough, and Kyle Burnell of South Berwick, Maine. The Elite Women’s winner was Sonja Kent of West Boylston in 1:03:24 followed by Marblehead’s Kristen Lamb, and Carol Gephart of Stafford.
“I’m happy to get out here to race with so many great people,” said Lamb, a member of the Fit Werx team, who finished in 1:05.12. “Swimming is my weakness so it’s always the toughest part for me, but overall I’m pleased with my time.”
Fit Werx of Peabody owner Marty Miserandino was second in the 40-44 men’s division in 1:07:03. He dedicated the race for his friend Rich Angelo of Beverly, who died doing a triathlon in Vermont last summer.
“It was on this date one year ago,” said Miserandino, who recently moved from Salem to Hamilton. “This one was in his honor. I’ve done it a number of years, and if I could race in these conditions every day I would. The water was calm, and it was not too hot for biking or running; it’s a great local event.”
Debby Logan was a member of the first training session at the Salem Y 11 years old, and has been competing in triathlons ever since.
“I’ve done about 50 of them, and I try to do this mini one almost every year,” said Logan, who lives in Salem and has done a half Ironman. “It’s always fun to do one in my home town, and this is such a great course.”
Greg LaBelle of Peabody finished third in the 35-39 age division. He is also part of the Fit Werx team and preparing for the Pumpkin Man Half Ironman event in Brunswick, Maine which will be triple the distance of Witch City.
“It’s so nice to be part of a great team,” said LaBelle. “The toughest part for me was the swimming, because the water was a little cold. I grew up in Salem, and I swam in the pool here all the time. I do triathlons for fun, and this one was a great time.”
For 13-year old Myles Raymond of Cambridge his first ever triathlon was an experience he will never forget. Raymond was part of a relay team with his brother.
“It was hard but fun,” said Raymond. “The toughest part was right before the finish, but I’ll definitely do another one.”
The mixed relay team called 76 SUDS (James DeFilippi, Alexa Singer, and Jason Uttam) won in 1:10:08 while the male relay winner was Cougar Hunters (Mark Aylward, Nick Bestor, and Andrew Koehan). The female relay winner was 19 Treetops@ 30 (Holly Barron, Emily Hinchey, and Eda Matchak).
Chuck Rodrigues of Salem won the men’s 30-34 age class. Despite living in Salem he hadn’t competed in the Witch City event the past two years because he did the Lake Placid Ironman.
“This is my first time here,” said the 32-year old. “I was too tired after Lake Placid before, but three months ago my baby was born so my training has been limited. I decided to try one of the short ones, and I loved the bike course around Marblehead Neck. Biking is always the easiest part for me, but I was pretty beat during the run.”
Jet Blue winners were Stephen Wright and Kimberly Shattuck, who both won free Jet Blue Airways trips to anywhere in the United States.
“I’ll take it,” said Wright, who is from Holliston and won the 20-24 age category. “What a great prize. I never did this race before, but I’ll be back because it’s an awesome course. The volunteers were fantastic, and everything was so well organized.”
Clydesdale/Athena awards went to Marc MacDonald of Somerville and Lisa Driscoll of Beverly. Other age division winners were Jessica Wilder and Patrick Mulrenan (1-19); Joanna Westland (20-24); Aubrey Cook and Andrew Trott (25-29); Allison Nieto (30-34); Meghan Bailey and Jeff Trail (35-39); Jenni Leikikh of Marblehead and Blake Kelsey of Beverly (40-44); Dani Cimino and Owen McGonagle (45-49); Elaine DeBittetto and Tim Mulrenan (50-54); Janet Barnes of Boxford and John Martin (55-59); Deborah Jackson of Salem and Leo Lafond (60-64); and Michael Siswick (65-69).