The 15th annual Lavaman Triathlon will take place at Waikoloa Beach Resort on Sunday, April 1. The Olympicdistance race begins at 7:30 am with a 1.5 km (.9 miles) swim in `Anaeho`omalu Bay. The swim portion is followed by a 40K bike ride and 10K run, with an awards party and beach barbeque to celebrate and finish the day.
More than 1,200 people participated in the 2011 race, making it one of the biggest events of the year at Waikoloa Beach Resort. Last year’s champions were 25-year-old Erich Wegscheider (1:53:31) of San Jose, CA, in the Elite Men’s Division, who finished first overall; and 32-year-old Bree Wee (2:04:28) of Kailua-Kona in the Elite Women’s Division. It was the second consecutive year that Bree won the Elite Women’s Division, and her 2011 time was good enough for a 14th place finish overall.
The ages of participants ranged from the youngest at 15, Allen Mercer-Love of Albuquerque, NM, to Dieter Heycke, 76 years young, of Honolulu, HI. Racers of all ages came from across the United States and Canada, with several from Japan taking part as well.
“As the Lavaman Triathlon comes into its 15th year, we are proud that it has become one of the top triathlons in the U.S. and definitely one of the most popular, selling out this year in only a few days,” says race director Gerry Rott. “We have been named ‘The Best Party in Triathlon’ because our competitors not only enjoy the challenges that the Lavaman course offers, but also the inviting atmosphere of Waikoloa Beach Resort and what it offers not only for the athletes, but for their families and friends as well.”
Starting in waist-deep water that averages 80 degrees in April, swimmers start and return to the south end of the beach fronting the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa. The bike ride segment travels out and back on the Queen Ka`ahumanu Highway (using a portion of the same bike course that Ironman participants follow) then back into the resort. The run portion is through the Waikoloa Beach Resort and the grounds of the Hilton Waikoloa Village, with varied terrain consisting of lava, sand, coral trail, road, lawn, and flagstone path with a beach finish.
“We have competitors from the pro ranks—such as former two-time Ironman World Champion, Chris McCormack, who calls it his favorite Olympic Distance Race—to those athletes racing in their very first triathlon and raising money for worthy causes,” Rott says.
Ranked as one of the “100 Best Races” by Triathlete Magazine, the 2012 race is sold out with more than 1,600 entrants, but volunteers are always needed, and there are many activities throughout the weekend that everyone is invited to join, including a Sunset 5K Run/Walk on Friday, March 30; and a Lavakids keiki race on Saturday, March 31.
For information or to sign up to volunteer, go to lavamantriathlon.com/waikoloa/ Competitors swimming in `Anaeho`omalu Bay; Left: 2011 champions Bree Wee and Erich Wegscheider. 2STAY IN STYLE What’s Happening? Entertainment & Activities 4 6WAIKOLOA DINING GUIDE Eddie Aikau Restaurant
David O. Baldwin Photography