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Marr, Richardson reign in Tinman Triathlon

Tim Marr took his title back. Emphatically.

The 31-year-old Kapahulu resident turned in a dominant performance at the 30th Tinman Triathlon yesterday, outpacing his nearest competitor by more than 4 minutes to capture his fourth title in five years.

Marr, a pro triathlete who won the Tinman three straight times from 2006 through 2008, clocked a time of 1 hour, 45 minutes and 58 seconds.

Gregory Price finished second overall in 1:51:17, followed by Mark Geoghegan (1:53:25), but neither posed a serious threat to Marr at any point on the course — an 800-meter swim sprint at Queen’s Beach, followed by a 40-kilometer (24.8-mile) out-and-back bike leg to Hawaii Kai, and a 10K (6.2-mile) run around Diamond Head to the Kapiolani Park finish line.

Marr emerged from the swim leg 10 seconds ahead of Shawn Williamson, and after a quick transition blasted through a strong bike segment.

"I really pushed it hard on the bike, just to keep that rhythm going because the wind was really blowing," Marr said. "If the wind wasn’t as strong, I don’t think I’d have (had) as big of a lead."

After returning to Hawaii on Tuesday after competing in a half-Ironman triathlon in Sonoma, Calif., he admitted to feeling some tightness in his calves.

"I still felt good on the bike, but on the run is where I felt it," Marr said.

Geoghegan, 46, had no shot at reeling in Marr and instead focused on picking off six competitors on the bike leg who passed him after he made a mistake in the transition pit.

"I forgot to take my (swim) speedsuit off, and I had it hanging around my (backside), and it kept getting caught in my bike," he said, laughing. "A real amateur mistake."

Marr, who finished second last year to John Flanagan, missed the fierce but friendly competition with the defending Tinman champion and fellow pro. Flanagan did not participate in yesterday’s race after rolling his ankle on a training run on Wednesday.

Defending women’s champion Rachel Ross also did not compete this year, opening the door for a Tinman newbie.

Debbie Richardson, 47, of Palos Verde, Calif., posted the top women’s time overall, finishing in 2:04:42. The first-time Tinman competitor decided to enter the event after finding out that it fell on the same day as the Molokai 2 Oahu Paddleboard World Championship, which her husband, Sean Richardson, competed in yesterday.

After the staggered start corrections were factored into the overall times, Mariane Marr, who is married to Tim Marr, recorded the second-fastest women’s time of 2:06:53, followed by Jenny Lagerquist (2:07:10).

Due to the staggered starts, Richardson began the race 3 minutes after the elite group, so the Californian wasn’t sure where her closest competition was until she passed Mariane Marr on the bike leg. The two were close at the end of the segment, but Richardson lost some time in the bike-to-run transition before scrambling to keep pace with Marr.

"She’s younger and tiny, so I was just trying to keep up with her and not lose too much time," said Richardson. "It’s been really cool in Southern California this summer, so I’m not real acclimated, so (the run) was a little hot."

For her part, the 29-year-old Marr was pleasantly surprised with her conditioning after jumping back into training following a month-and-a-half-long visit to her native Brazil.

"I felt great, actually," she said after winning the elite division.

Befitting an event that organizers and participants alike celebrate as "the people’s race," the four triathletes who have completed all 30 Tinman races — Donohue Fujii, Amy Harpstrite, Leland How and Linda Kaiser — were recognized following the event.

"Back then, (the triathlon) was a totally new sport," said Harpstrite, 45, a Kailua pediatrician. "It’s funny now looking back at how it is now compared to back then."

Harpstrite kept her streak alive through medical school at the University of Hawaii and in between having three children — completing one Tinman when she was eight months pregnant — but those life events weren’t her toughest challenge.

"I was in kidney failure for a few years," Harpstrite said. A couple of years after a kidney transplant in 2005 gave her "a new lease on life," she posted her fastest time (2:17) in the event.

Harpstrite finished in 2:18:52 yesterday, placing third in her 45-49 age group.

Fujii, 47, finished in 2:37:32.

"I gotta thank the guy upstairs for keeping me healthy just to have the chance to do it," said Fujii.

Kaiser, 59, finished in 3:19:06, shrugging off a diagnosis of arthritis in her left knee earlier this year, and How, 47, came in at 3:57:02.

"There’s 60- , 70- , 80-year-olds who are beating me, but that’s OK," joked How. "I think it’s an honor just to be part of an event that’s been around this long."


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