MELMERBY – Some things changed, some stayed the same.
The 38th running of the Melmerby Triathlon had a new course, increased numbers, but Ryan MacDonald winning the Olympic event – for the fourth straight time – was familiar.
“It’s my hometown race, I know the course I guess, well not as much this time,” said MacDonald about winning four in a row. “It’s nice, I really like it (the event). But you know as long as the training is there the results will come. That’s the big thing.”
The 24-year-old finished the Olympic distance just under 20 minutes ahead of the second place finisher, Shawn Noftall of New Glasgow, with a time of 2:09:27. Slightly slower than his winning time of 2:05:57 two years ago, MacDonald said the wind played a big part in the race on Sunday.
“It would’ve been a lot better if it wasn’t as windy as it was,” said MacDonald. “It was kind of a slap in the face at the end, but they can’t control that, so it’s just the luck of draw. I expected to be a little bit quicker (Sunday) because my training has been a bit better and I’m faster now than I was then (2012). Again, on the day, weather conditions play a part and if you’re a few minutes off it’s not the end of the world.”
A fan of the old course, because he was able to gauge where his competition was, MacDonald said that he did enjoy the new course. On his point of being able to check for his competition, the first spot where he was able to see who was behind him was Levi White Road during the run. He said not seeing anyone in the Olympic event made it hard to keep his pace.
“At the first point where you can kind of check where your competition was, that kilometer and a half down and kilometer and a half back, it was kind of hard to run from that point,” said MacDonald. “It was 3k and I didn’t see anyone in my category, so again it was hard to push it being that far ahead, but it was okay.
“I just think permits being what they were it wasn’t feasible (to have the old course), but I like the straight out and back because you can see your competition on the way back. This way was a little bit harder, but it’s okay.”
Michelle Zunti of New Glasgow was the top local female finisher in the Olympic distance. She was 17th overall and the third female with a time of 2:46:46.
“The wind was awful, it was crazy,” said Zunti about the weather on Sunday. “You would expect when you’re doing a loop course that you would have a strong tailwind for all the strong headwind that you have, but there didn’t seem to be much tailwind, so a lot of hills and a lot of wind.
“I figured I’d be around 2:45, but I came in around 2:46 because I stopped to run in with my four-year-old son, so I’m happy with where I finished.”
Originally from Ottawa, Zunti started doing the Melmerby Triathlon when she vacationed in the area. Having lived here for over two years now, she’s happy to be doing it as a local.
“It’s nice to do it as a local when you really know the course,” she said. “I’ve done a lot of the big races like Ironman where you have 2,000 or 3,000 people in the race. It’s really nice to do a small race where everyone knows everyone and you know the course. I also love the ocean swim even though I’m not a swimmer.”
Terry Curley, director of the Johnny Miles Running Event series, said he was pleased with Sunday’s event. Their numbers increased from 127 in 2012 to 152.
“It was great to have it back and come back the way it did,” he said. “It was disappointing, like I’ve said, to not have it last year. We didn’t disagree with the issues, but disagreed with the process. Overall we’re better for it and today we had great help and cooperation with the authorities (RCMP).”
After speaking with multiple athletes he believes the course will stay the same in years to come.
“I’ve talked to a few of the athletes and the new course has rave reviews,” he said. “For the most part everyone found it easy to navigate and the top athletes tell me it’s a fast course. The model seemed to work, so I think we’ll keep this route.”
This was the final event of the year for the Johnny Miles Running series. The next one will be the New Year’s Eve Resolution Run on Dec. 31, 2014.
Results (top 10 in each event)
1. Ryan MacDonald, New Glasgow, 2:09:27
2. Shawn Noftall, New Glasgow, 2:28:48
3. Geoff Bennett, Dartmouth, 2:29:29
4. Philip Burke, Bedford, 2:34:13
5. Kevin Walsh, Falmouth, 2:37:08
6. Hugh Munroe, Merigomish, 2:37:38
7. Edward Parker, Lower Sackville, 2:38:21
8. Kevin Tulloch, New Glasgow, 2:40:28
9. Devon Peavoy, Halifax, 2:41:31
10. Cory Tetford, Dartmouth, 2:41:39
1. Emily Morton and Abbey Shaw 2:33:06
2. Michelle Works, Mary Cantrell and Debbie MacDonald 2:39:23
3. Angie MacNeil and Alex Benitah 2:45:48
4. Jessica Poirier and Sandra Ross 2:58:44
5. Beth Williston, Ross Landry and Fred MacDonald 3:01:41
6. Chris DeYoung, Johnny Richards and Joe Breen 3:04:46
1. Adam Aldred, West Pubnico, 1:18:17
2. Tim MacNeil, Fall River, 1:19:46
3. Chad Lewis, Augusta, 1:21:00
4. Matt Keirstead, Halifax, 1:22:28
5. Terese Chisholm, Antigonish, 1:24:28
6. Brian Trites, Fredericton, 1:26:37
7. Mark Littler, Halifax, 1:27:59
8. Mitchell Stewart, Halifax, 1:28:29
9. Pat Kennedy, Urbania, 1:28:30
10. Andre MacNeil, Halifax, 1:28:48
Super sprint distance
1. Ryan Hutchinson, Enfied, 41:50
2. Jordyn McNutt, Upper Brookfield, 42:16
3. Bailey Fraser, Merigomish, 42:57
4. Sue Boutilier, Truro, 44:35
5. Peter Allen, Camden, 44:35
6. Caitlin Cormier, Truro, 44:44
7. Jillian Fullarton, Hubley, 45:50
8. Shauna Siscoe, Stillwater, 46:18
9. Katie Arbuckle, St. Margarets Bay, 46:58
10. Laura Brown, Greenfield, 47:10
Try a Tri
1. Anita Isenor, Nine Mile River, 48:42
2. Dean Sangster, Truro, 49:44
3. Kelly Mercer, Truro, 51:44
4. Leslie MacDonald, Toronto, 52:55
5. Jennifer Randall, Milford, 55:29
6. David Josey, Dartmouth, 55:44
7. Leah McCulloch-Addison, Valley, 59:22
8. Natasha Flynn, Seabright, 59:42
9. Michelle Champiniss, Halifax, 1:00:48
10. Leslie Bateman, New Glasgow, 1:03:02
*For full results visit atlanticchip.ca.