July 19, 2009

Blake Becker is Spirit of Racine champion

Blake Becker runs through victory banner, held by race director
Shannon Kurek, left, and Dave Blank of the RCCVB, right

We'll give you the end of the story first, just to get it up quickly:

Blake Becker of Madison won the Spirit of Racine Half Triathlon, or half Ironman, depending on who's describing it, this morning, in a time of 3:54.04.

He was followed some six minutes later, according to the official results, in 4:00.58 by Jeff Paul of Le Clair, IA. Mike Lavery, also of Madison and like Becker a member of Team Timex came in third, in 4:03.51.

Paul, Becker and Lavery, l-r, after the finish

Becker, 30, a "professional triathlete" and coach, raced here once before -- seven years ago.

The Spirit of Racine is the main event of two days of racing that drew some 2,000 triathletes. It consists of a 1.2 mile swim, a 56 mile bike ride and a 13.1 mile run. Temperatures were a bit colder today than Saturday, especially when the race began at 7 a.m., and the water was quite a bit choppier. A total of 1,207 participants competed in Sunday's race; another 33 competed in the AquaBike division -- two of the three legs, minus the run.
Here are Sunday's complete results:
Here's what today's race looked like, in pictures.

The long march, up North Beach a mile and a half

Photographers waiting for the many division starts

And another group is off!

Like clearance day at Filene's, swimmers change into cycling attire

Running out of the transition area...

...only to face the 'big hill' up to Main Street

This is what transition area looked like without the bikes...

Patty Phillips, last one out of the water, gamely ran
into the transition area, long after everyone
else was gone.
I asked Patty, 50, if she'd competed
in triathlons before.
'Not enough!' she said,
and then she was on her way.

Cyclists coming back down Main Street

Runners in both directions, since the course required two laps

Finally, the finish line! 4 hours for the elite, up to 8 for some

Top triathletes got plaques; everyone else got this medal

We end with a story left hanging: Did she say yes or no?
Betting was that Becca, 20, would tell
Justin she's too young...
If you know what happened, please let us know!

Our story about Saturday's races is here, and complete results are at the links below:


  1. That picture of the two women on bikes on the your front page is FANTASTIC!

  2. Too bad the winner's last name is tainted in this city.

  3. Great job with the photos Pete. I agree, the one on the hompage was really cool. Well done!