Second in her age division, local triathlete Liz Dobbins was on top of the world following her performance at the International Long Distance World Championships in SÃ¤ter, Sweden.
Dobbins, 46, placed second in the 45-49 age division last Saturday and returned to Lawrence late Thursday night with her prized silver medal.
"I was excited," Dobbins said. "I was so excited."
Dobbins, a triathlon competitor for 13 years, completed the 2 1/2-mile swim, 75-mile bike ride and 18-mile run in 8 hours, 6 minutes. Her splits were 1:10.32 for the swim, 4:13.08 for the bike and 2:42.20 for the run.
"I led the run for a while, then at the 16th mile my legs buckled and cramped," said Dobbins, who has competed in longer events in Hawaii and Germany. "I dehydrated. I felt good until then. There was nothing I could do. I couldn't catch her. I just hoped to finish."
Valerie Gattis, also of the United States, was the eventual winner, finishing in 8:00.47.
Dobbins, a physical education teacher at Grant and Sunset elementary schools, has competed in three such World events. Her second place in Sweden was her highest finish at the Worlds. She placed 18th last year in her age division at the World meet in Lausanne, Switzerland, and third in 1996 in Muncie, Ind.
Conditions for the Sweden meet were 92-95 degrees minus the humidity Dobbins is accustomed to in Lawrence.
"It was very dry air and felt like it was 70-75 degrees," Dobbins said. "It was advertised as flat bike ride, but it was hilly."
Following the Sweden triathlon, Dobbins and other U.S. triathletes toured Stockholm.
Dobbins' next big triathlon is a national championship meet in late September in St. Joseph, Mo. It is a qualifier for the World Short Course Championship in Perth, Australia in 2000.
Lawrence's Kent McDonald, 46, competed in the men's 45-49 age division in Sweden. McDonald, the top American finisher in his age division at the World meet last year, completed the swim and bike before becoming dehydrated and was unable to finish.
-- Steve Rottinghaus' phone message number is 832-7152. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org