Two city triathletes -- Liz Dobbins and Kent McDonald -- will leave this weekend for the International Triathlon Union Long Distance World Championship in Sater, Sweden, set for July 10.
Dobbins and McDonald, both 46, will compete in the 45-49 age division. Both triathletes placed last year in the short-course portion of the World Championship.
Instead of a 1-mile swim, 25-mile bike ride and 6.2-mile run "shorter course," Dobbins and McDonald will enter a 2 1/2 mile swim, 75-mile bike ride and 18-mile run.
"I'm not sure about the 18-mile run at the end of the triathlon," said Dobbins, a physical education teacher at Sunset and Grant elementary schools. "It's more of an endurance race compared to the (Lawrence Memorial Hospital) triathlon at Lone Star, where you go hard all the time. The long distance course is a steady race."
At World last year in Lausanne, Switzerland, Dobbins placed 18th overall -- the sixth American -- in the 45-49 age bracket. She also finished third in the 40-44 age division at the World Championship in Muncie, Ind., in 1996.
Dobbins has been competing in triathlons for 13 years.
"You work out, train and compete," Dobbins said. "It becomes a big part of your life."
McDonald placed fourth overall and was the first American finisher last year at World.
"I haven't done a triathlon this year," McDonald said. "I've put in a good, hard month. It kind of depends on who shows up to see how I do."
McDonald has been hooked on triathlons since his first one in 1986.
"A friend got me into it and it was a canoe, bike and run," he said. "I did pretty well and I kept trying after that."
McDonald still holds Lawrence High's school record in the 3,200-meter (9:08.9), set in 1971.
"I'm kind of surprised," he said of the longstanding record. "I'm sure someone will get it."
-- Steve Rottinghaus' phone message number is 832-7152. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org