Triathlete Jeni Winegarner of Anchorage won the women’s 55-to-59 age group at the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii, considered the most important triathlon in the world.
She covered the 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile run and 26.2-mile run in 10 hours, 33 minutes, 10 seconds.
Winegarner was fifth out of the water before taking over on the bike and run to beat the 40-woman field by nearly 19 minutes. Back in March, Winegarner finished third overall and won her age group at the Lavaman Triathlon Waikoloa, a shorter event with a 1,500-meter swim, 40-kilometer bike and 10-kilometer run.
Chelsea Ward-Waller of Anchorage also did well, placing fourth in the 18-24 age group with a time of 10:25:40. She was eighth after the swim and fifth after the bike before finishing fourth out of 31 competitiors.
The Alaskans topped perhaps the most famous Ironman finisher. Former Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Hines Ward, a two-time Super Bowl champion, finished in 13 hours, 8 minutes and 15 seconds. The former "Dancing With the Stars" winner trained for nearly a year with triathlon legend Paula Newby-Fraser.
Van Williams, a 20-year local sports writer and the former sports editor of the Anchorage Daily News, writes about the athletic exploits of Alaskans for the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.