2009 Pat Griskus Triathlon (Sprint Race)

The Pat Griskus Triathlon is the real deal. I first heard about this race years ago, but had never done it or even seen it. I only heard about it. I never gave triathlon a serious go until this year, so when I laid out my 2009 plan, I knew that Griskus was going to be on it, even if it wasn’t going to be one of my “A races.” I did the younger Griskus Olympic distance race last month, but the classic is the Wednesday night sprint race that has been held in early July for the past 23 years.

The race is wildly popular with Connecticut triathletes and is known for the huge number of first timers that compete every year. Griskus is often a triathlete’s entry into the sport and the race has to be one of the largest of its kind in New England. There were 501 finishers last night. More than 100 of them were first timers. That is remarkable considering that most people worked yesterday too! The other interesting thing is that 400 people came back and did it again. For many, it is probably their only triathlon of the year.

Quassy

Held in Middlebury, Connecticut at Quassy Amusement Park, the race includes a 1/2 mile swim, a 10.5 mile bike, and a 3.1 mile run. The park was jammed with its regular customers and there were many spectators too; so it was a crowded venue. The swim course in Lake Quassapaug was just fine. I gave up nearly four minutes to the fast guys, which is something I’ll need to work on. It put me at a big disadvantage heading into the bike leg. I was also seeded in the second wave, so I was already three minutes behind the top triathletes. That is no big deal, but it would have been fun to compete side by side with those guys. The race was scored on net time anyway. The bike course was on the undulating and beautiful roads around Middlebury ,and I had a lot of fun with the downhills. The run course was an out and back leg from the park with some significant elevation change for a short course. 

I made up good time on the bike and run, finishing in 1:03:17. I was secretly hoping to break 60 minutes, but I didn’t really come close. I was training through this race, so maybe in another year, it will get more focus. Regardless, times are meaningless when you have so much fun. The race had great sponsors, wonderful volunteers, and a cool vibe. I saw a number of athletes with disabilities, including a guy on a hand cycle. That was inspirational.

It was great to see this guy finish!

The top three men were Domenic Gillen, Christopher Thomas, and Ian Ray. Gillen put up a 55:52, which is really fast and faster than his 2008 winning time. He had the fastest splits on two of the three legs. The top three women were Cassandra Maximenko, Michelle Wolfson, and Robin Passander. Maximenko’s time was 1:05:38. You can view the full results here. The competition was great, but it was even more interesting and fun to see all of the finishers telling their stories after crossing the line. The post race party was lively and I heard it lasted long after the sun set. We wish we could have stayed longer, but Thursday was another work day, we had a long drive home, and my three year old was running on fumes.

Race Results

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