Nov 21, 2009

Wrapping Up The 2009 Season

This post recognizes several Cleveland area triathletes that stepped it up this year and raced hard. As the 2009 season comes to an end, I’ve started to think about all of the area triathletes who put in so much time and saw great results. Obviously, I can’t recognize everyone, but these few individuals deserve some credit. Congratulations to everyone who trained hard, made sacrifices, put themselves to the test, and came out on top.

Jim LaMastra – This is one of the hardest working triathletes in Ohio and quite possible the whole country. Besides training and racing ridiculously hard, Jim still finds plenty time to spend with his family, coach local triathletes, and build his career. If there is one athlete, or person in all of Ohio, to model yourself after, it is Jim LaMastra. Jim’s 2009 racing season was impression to say the least. After winning the first two triathlons he entered, he went on to finish 4th at Rhode Island 70.3, securing his 2nd Kona slot. Jim went on to race super fast on the big island finishing towards the top of his age group. Congrats to Jim for everything he accomplished this season.

Rob “Aussie” Thompson – Anyone who knows Aussie, knows he will own you on two wheels. Besides riding way too fast, Aussie spends his time with his family over in Lakewood. Anyone lucky enough to hold onto Aussie for an entire ride, knows how it feels to work hard. Aussie also had a super impressive season, culminating in a great performance at IM Louisville. I watched this kid push himself through the last few miles of that race, and have never seen someone dig that deep. Aussie knows how to suffer, and we are all waiting to see more big things from him.

Christian Kurilko – Let’s talk about some work ethic. This guy works harder and races farther than anyone I know. I’d love to spend one minute inside this guy’s head. Christian started off the season with the Cleveland Marathon, and then backs it up with a 7.5 mile swim in the Potomac River. If that wasn’t enough, throw in a half Ironman and then IM Louisville. In Louisville, Christian had the best performance of any of the Cleveland triathletes. He blew away all expectations, and had the race of his life. I watched him come through the finishing shoot in a little over 10 hours, I truly respectable IM time. Congrats to Christian for stepping up to the Ironman distance and doing it the right way!

Brian Stern – I was lucky enough to race along with Stern several times this year. We had some good times… but we also raced ridiculously hard.  After a super fast time at the Kansas 70.3, Stern was already qualified for Clearwater. But, for him, that wasn’t enough. A couple months later, he blew the field away at the Steelhead 70.3. Stern is notorious for laying down super fast run splits at every race he does. A month later, Stern and I raced Long Course Nationals. Stern finished top – 20 overall and 3rd in his age group. Besides those races, Stern also managed to pick up a variety of overall wins through out the season. Stern is one of the best Masters runners in Ohio right now. Thanks for pushing me to my limits all season, and congrats for all your accomplishments.

Aaron Emig – I just met Aaron this season and he quickly proved to be one of the fastest athletes on the BAFF triathlon team and in the Cleveland area. Aaron had a huge break through race at Augusta 70.3 a few months ago. He finished at the top of his age group, and qualified for the Ironman World Championship 70.3. Besides Stern, Aaron was one of the only people from Cleveland to qualify for this race. Not only did Aaron go fast at worlds, he did it without drafting on the bike. Clearwater is notorious for drafting, and Aaron decided that he wanted to fair race for himself. This shows a great deal about his personality. He is willing and able to race with the best, but he will always do so in a way that honest and fair. I can’t wait to see what he’ll do next season, and am sure that he will again be one of the fastest athletes in the area.

Again, congrats to everyone who raced hard and accomplished what they didn't think was possible. Special thanks to all of my sponsors this season, and any company who supported local triathlons. My main sponsor this season, Fleet Feet Sports, always went above and beyond their responsiblities to local racing and is one of the most dedicated running stores in all of Ohio. Thanks to Jody and Heather for everything they have done. Without Fleet Feet Sports, the Cleveland racing scene would not be the same.

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