Archive for Sunday, September 23, 2001

LMH triathlon set for today

September 23, 2001

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"I always wanted to get here," said Laurence, who last summer just missed qualifying for the USA Olympic team that took part in the games in Sydney. "Things just never worked out, I usually had a conflict with another meet."

But the 13-year pro, who swam at CU in the mid '80s, is one of nearly 500 participants ready for today's race. The LMH Triathlon last was held at Lone Star in 1998.

"People tell me it's one of the better races in the Midwest," said Mike Vickers, tournament director. "It's a pretty challenging course, that's really beautiful."

The reputation of the event seems to be growing. Triathletes from more than 15 states have entered the race, which begins at 8 a.m.

Several professional runners will compete, including Kansas City's Wes Hobson and Australia's Chris McCormack -- regarded as one of the top triathletes in the world.

Races will be broken down by age division in addition to two course types, short and long. The long course will be Olympic distance -- featuring a 1,500-meter swim, 40-kilometer bike ride and 10-kilometer run.

To staff such an event Vickers is relying on the help of 150 volunteers and major donations from Merck Pharmaceuticals and Mid-America Heart Institute. All proceeds from this fund-raising event will go to LMH.

Laurence, a veteran runner who participated in the 1998 Goodwill Games, says her long-term goal is to qualify for the Olympics. Right now, she'd settle for victory at today's triathlon.

"I'm hoping to win it," Laurence said.

Laurence, 37, sustained a back injury last year during an Xterra race, a more challenging off-road event as compared to a regular triathlon.

The injury was just another downer in a year when Laurence was so close to reaching her dream. She was one of nine triathletes to make both sessions of Olympic trials before barely missing out.

"It was a disappointing year," she said. "I feel like I had overtrained by that point."

But Laurence says her injury is almost 100 percent recovered and her mental mindset is as good as ever. Now she just wants to win the race that has eluded her for so long.

"Oh yeah, I'm definitely ready," Laurence said. "I've wanted to do this forever."

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