Kinsey Loan takes title at the Gold Nugget, Alaska’s women-only triathlon

Gold Nugget Triathlon

Sheryl Loan figured her daughter Kinsey would be a strong contender to win the 2022 Gold Nugget Triathlon.

A mother’s instinct proved correct on Sunday.

Kinsey won the race with a time of 1 hour, 2 minutes, 39 seconds.

“I thought she might,” Sheryl Loan said. “She’s just been super fit this year. She won Bike For Women (earlier this month). I said ‘You’ve won every race you’ve done this season?’ And she said ‘I think so.’ ”

Sheryl Loan, herself a decorated athlete and long one of the state’s top cyclists, said training recently with her daughter gave her a good indication of Kinsey’s potential for success.

“She was running faster,” Sheryl Loan said. “She swam on the swim team when she was in grade school. Her swim times were definitely good enough to keep her in the mix with the fast ladies. She’s always been a good biker. I can just tell going out on road runs with her, she’s really crushing the runs. Of the three that’s been the weakest link.”

Gold Nugget Triathlon
Gold Nugget Triathlon

The Loans, both from Eagle River, were one of more than 100 mother-daughter teams competing in the all-women’s triathlon.


“If you look at how many mother-daughter teams there are, it’s just amazing,” Kinsey Loan said. “I just think it’s so cool. I don’t know how many times I’ve done it, but I’ve done it with my mom every year. There are even some teams with three generations. I just love it.”

Like many events and competitions, the 2020 edition of the triathlon was canceled. It returned last year with a hybrid event where Kinsey Loan placed fourth and Sheryl Loan won her age group.

Kinsey Loan said her activity schedule has been more about being active in the outdoors as putting in traditional training days.

“I haven’t been training as much but doing a lot of playing outside” she said. “Doing some big days in the mountains with friends and that’s been good.”

Gold Nugget Triathlon

Training with her mother is great barometer for her fitness, Kinsey said, and also provides a benchmark for disciplined preparation for a race. Sheryl Loan placed 69th on Sunday.

“She trains all the time and I try to keep up,” Kinsey Loan said.

“That’s sweet of her but as you get older you feel like you have to stay on top of your game all the time,” Sheryl Loan said. “If not, who knows what kind of downward spiral you’ll go on.”

Anchorage’s Katelyn Stearns crossed the finish line at Pena Park in second at 1:04:03 and former Olympic champion and 2005 Gold Nugget champ Kikkan Randall took fourth with a time of 1:05:53.

Gold Nugget Triathlon

While Loan took home the win, the biggest celebration of the day may have come when Kristina Eaton McAuliffe crossed the finish line in 57th.

Decked out with birthday hats, a group of her friends and training partners serenaded McAuliffe with a rendition of happy birthday.

McAuliffe turns 40 next week, but was also just five weeks removed from giving birth.

“I tried to stay in shape through pregnancy, but today was about having fun,” she said. “I ran into a friend on the course and we were just able to have fun running it together and it was really great.”

Among the birthday bunch were some of the state’s top racers — Amber Stull (3rd), Katie Green (5th), Teresa Ulrich (6th), Jody Barton (12th), Bri Lowen (15th) and Holly Boston (58), who crossed the finish line along with McAuliffe.

“The real key was these women, everybody out here,” she said. “They have been my champions through pregnancy this past year and turning 40.”

Gold Nugget Triathlon
Gold Nugget Triathlon
Gold Nugget Triathlon

The group trains together on a regular basis and even though McAuliffe’s participation was limited during pregnancy there are always opportunities for members of the group to get together.

“It varies,” McAuliffe said. “Everyone is following their own training plan. I was pregnant and postpartum. I was actually not doing anything with them. There’s something every day, sometimes two. Whether it’s a bike/swim or swim/run. It’s just a really cool group of ladies.”

She said most of the group is training to compete in the Ironman Alaska race in Juneau on Aug. 7.


“Pretty much every single one of them is training to race in the Ironman that’s going to be in Juneau in August,” McAuliffe said. “I was pregnant this year so I bowed out but they have been my emotional support. Everyone is out here taking care of each other.”

For the 39th edition of the race Sunday, there were nearly 1,300 competitors.

Former longtime Anchorage Daily News sports editor Beth Bragg got the festivities started as the ceremonial starter on Sunday morning at Bartlett High School.

Gold Nugget Triathlon

Top 100 finishers

1. Kinsey Loan, Eagle River, 1:02:39; 2. Katelyn Stearns, Anchorage, 1:04:03; 3. Amber Stull, Anchorage, 1:05:28; 4. Kikkan Randall, Anchorage, 1:05:53; 5. Katie Green, Anchorage, 1:05:58; 6. Teresa Ulrich, Anchorage, 1:06:00; 7. Hilary Rea, Anchorage, 1:06:02; 8. Helen Wilson, Eagle River, 1:06:06; 9. Karina Packer, Anchorage, 1:07:08; 10. Sara Miller, Anchorage, 1:07:13; 11. Colleen McGovern, Anchorage, 1:07:33; 12. Jody Barton, Anchorage, 1:08:15; 13. Victoria Summers, Eagle River, 1:08:36; 14. Claire Trujillo, Anchorage, 1:09:12; 15. Bri Lowen, Anchorage, 1:09:12; 16. Kristin Riall, Anchorage, 1:09:46; 17. Heather Helzer, Anchorage, 1:09:49; 18. Morgan Aldridge, Sterling, 1:09:54; 19. Kelcie Ralph, Anchorage, 1:10:00; 20. KC Kent, Girdwood, 1:10:01; 21. Yvonne Jeschke, Anchorage, 1:10:06; 22. Ryann Dorris, Anchorage, 1:10:29; 23. Holly Martinson, Anchorage, 1:11:05; 24. Rosie Conway, Anchorage, 1:11:27; 25. Betsy Lund, Kodiak, 1:11:30; 26. Pamela Schamber, Anchorage, 1:11:31; 27. Sarah Freistone, Anchorage, 1:11:47; 28. Kimberly Spence-Jensen, Anchorage, 1:12:02; 29. Alyse Loran, Anchorage, 1:12:04; 30. Jennifer Schmidt, Anchorage, 1:12:19; 31. Morgan Lash, Anchorage, 1:12:38; 32. Nicki Holmen, Anchorage, 1:12:41; 33. Sara Brubaker, Kodiak, 1:12:52; 34. Ina Kraus, Eagle River, 1:13:03; 35. Melanee Stiassny, Girdwood, 1:13:32; 36. Kristine Percival, Anchorage, 1:13:50; 37. Heather Onders, Anchorage, 1:13:53; 38. Emily Erickson, Anchorage, 1:13:59; 39. Mandy Casurella, Anchorage, 1:14:03; 40. Hailey Robertson, Anchorage, 1:14:24; 41. Jennifer Henderson, Anchorage, 1:14:57; 42. Erika Bennett, Anchorage, 1:15:14; 43. Ivy Eski, Anchorage, 1:15:16; 44. Katie Seybert, Anchorage, 1:15:26; 45. Liane Nagata, Anchorage, 1:15:27; 46. Mia Stiassny, Girdwood, 1:15:30; 47. Katherine Kelly, Anchorage, 1:15:32; 48. Katra Wedeking, Girdwood, 1:15:33; 49. Sarah Bagron, Anchorage, 1:15:39; 50. Kellee Grenier, Wasilla, 1:15:39; 51. Jennifer Armentrout, Anchorage, 1:15:43; 52. Lauren Grippo, Anchorage, 1:15:51; 53. Shannon Perrins, Anchorage, 1:16:03; 54. Destiny Ingram, Eagle River, 1:16:08; 55. Sarah Nicholas, Anchorage, 1:16:16; 56. Holly Boston, Anchorage, 1:16:18; 57. Kristina Eaton McCauliffe, Anchorage, 1:16:18; 58. Jodi Harskamp, Anchorage, 1:17:06; 59. McKinley Wallace, Anchorage, 1:17:10; 60. Suzie Hosmanek, Anchorage, 1:17:19; 61. Emily Sears, Kasilof, 1:17:24; 62. Juliette Benson, Fairbanks, 1:17:24; 63. Megan Neale, Anchorage, 1:17:36; 64. Natasha Dye, Eagle River, 1:17:37; 65. Nancy Spence, Anchorage, 1:17:40; 66. Madison Rosser, Anchorage, 1:17:45; 67. Anna Rix, Fairbanks, 1:17:48; 68. Eileen McKean, Anchorage, 1:17:49; 69. Sheryl Loan, Eagle River, 1:18:05; 70. Holly Fisk, Anchorage, 1:18:09; 71. Jaena Tranberg, Anchorage, 1:18:16; 72. Shelly James, Anchorage, 1:18:19; 73. Taylor Ferguson, Anchorage, 1:18:23; 74. Ingrid Reese, Anchorage, 1:18:33; 75. Mikayla Savikko, Anchorage, 1:18:34; 76. Sarah Conkey, Palmer, 1:18:35; 77. Jodi McLaughlin, Anchorage, 1:18:49; 78. Donna Pierce-Wright, Anchorage, 1:18:58; 79. Jacqueline Klecka, Anchorage, 1:19:00; 80. Christina Curtner, Eagle River, 1:19:01; 81. Aviana Sorich, Anchorage, 1:19:12; 82. Sara Cleaver, Anchorage, 1:19:15; 83. Charity Duley, Anchorage, 1:19:25; 84. Maria Cvancara, Anchorage, 1:19:32; 85. Linnea Gray, Eagle River, 1:19:32; 86. Dianne Prince, Anchorage, 1:19:34; 87. Colleen Crum, Wasilla, 1:19:45; 88. Tanya Kirk, Anchorage, 1:19:56; 89. Madelin Lowen, Anchorage, 1:19:59; 90. Alana Lim, Anchorage, 1:20:07; 91. Lauren Smayda, Anchorage, 1:20:12; 92. Lauren Dorris, Anchorage, 1:20:25; 93. Hailee Rahm, Palmer, 1:20:27; 94. Carma Reed, Anchorage, 1:20:30; 95. Melanie Briggs, Anchorage, 1:20:51; 96. Riley Bennett-Vockner, Girdwood, 1:20:52; 97. Hannah Ingrim, Anchorage, 1:20:54; 98. Chelsea Grimstad, Palmer, 1:20:56; 99. Kari Fritzel, Anchorage, 1:20:56; 100. Danielle Stevens, JBER, 1:20:58.

Chris Bieri

Chris Bieri is the sports and entertainment editor at the Anchorage Daily News.