Kenney continues dominance by winning Steamboat Triathlon | SteamboatToday.com

Kenney continues dominance by winning Steamboat Triathlon

Austin Colbert

Cyclists pedal down River Road as they compete in Sunday's Steamboat Triathlon at Lake Catamount.

— Eric Kenney is a passionate coach and more than anything loves to see his athletes succeed. And at 39, the Boulder resident and founder of EK Endurance Coaching knows he won't be able to keep up with most of them for much longer.

But on Sunday in his first Steamboat Triathlon at Lake Catamount, he made sure the current hierarchy stayed static by winning the Olympic distance race, with a handful of his own athletes unsuccessfully trying to chase him down.

"It's real fun when my athletes beat me, which it's only a matter of time, generally. Some of the faster guys weren't here today so I got lucky," Kenney said. "I was planning on coming out last year but I had a bad bike crash the week before so I missed it. But this year, with the Boulder Triathlon Club, we come out every year and we get a condo and we have a bunch of people from the team come out. It's a fun weekend for us."

The Steamboat Triathlon is in its fifth year under the direction of the Front Range-based Without Limits Productions company. Without Limits puts on a series of triathlons during the summer, and so far this year Kenney has won each one of them. This includes July's Steamboat Lake Sprint Triathlon at Steamboat Lake; his first win in three tries at the popular sprint race.

Kenney won Sunday's Olympic triathlon — a 1.5-kilometer swim, 24.8-mile bike ride and 10-kilometer run — in 2 hours, 3 minutes, 3 seconds. Finishing second was Lakewood's Andrew Knutsen in 2:07:21 and third was Denver's Matt Smith in 2:08:20.

Other than being a frequent competitor in the Steamboat area, Kenney's other local connection comes via Amy Charity, a professional Steamboat cyclist who is competing in this week's U.S.A. Pro Challenge as part of the Optum Pro Cycling team. The two met during the winter through a mutual friend, and Kenney has since helped her train.

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"She's fantastic. She is a really great athlete and her husband Matt is great, too," Kenney said. "Being able to see Amy next week in the Pro Challenge is going to be great. I always follow her online when she is racing in Europe or wherever. I know she's really motivated to race at home. I'm going to be jumping up and down wherever I am on whatever station, that's for sure."

Winning the women's Olympic distance triathlon Sunday was Denver's Molly Smith, the wife of third-place men's finisher Matt Smith, in 2:18:17 for 10th overall. The Smiths are Steamboat regulars and have often found success in this event. This weekend, it seemed Molly Smith, 35, just had a little better luck than her husband.

"He got stuck behind the train," Molly Smith said about her husband's race. "The day may have looked a little different, but you deal with what you are given for the day. And if there is a train in your way, the train will win, so you should stop."

Finishing second in the women's Olympic triathlon was Denver's Sarah Bay in 2:19:41 and third was Steamboat's own Heather Gollnick in 2:22:48.

Australian woman wins sprint triathlon

Sunday was the first time Margie Campbell had ever put on a wetsuit. It was also the first time she had competed in a triathlon of any distance since she was a teenager.

"I thought I might jump in and do my first sprint distance tri and it came out really well," said Campbell, 31. "I knew I'd do OK. I'm surprised to win because there are just so many talented athletes around these parts. People come from all over the world like we have to train at altitude, so there are no slouches here."

Campbell, a native of Australia, won the sprint triathlon in 1:15:44, besting even the top male time, owned by Longmont's Chris Westman (1:17:22). Campbell is calling Boulder home for the summer while she and her husband of two months, Richard Campbell, train and enjoy what they consider to be their honeymoon.

Richard Campbell, who is training for Canada's Challenge Penticton next month, took fourth in Sunday's Olympic triathlon in 2:10:06.

"Been doing a bit of cross training in Boulder and thought I'd give this a crack," said Margie Campbell, who is a physiotherapist back in Australia. "I had hired the wetsuit and hired the bike. I've just been trundling around on an old mountain bike the past few months. So that was a little bit different. I was happy once I got out onto the run. That was much more familiar."

Sunday's races also included the second Olympic aquabike event, which excludes the running portion. The race was won by Denver's Robert Ocana in 1:29:51.

To reach Austin Colbert, call 970-871-4204, email acolbert@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @Austin_Colbert