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Overend, Preston win Nighthorse triathlons

Hummel dominates women’s Olympic distance
Ned Overend, pictured racing in the 2021 Iron Horse Bicycle Classic, won the Lake Nighthorse sprint triathlon on Saturday in Durango. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald file)

Ned Overend won the sprint and David Preston won the Olympic distance at the Lake Nighthorse triathlon on Saturday.

The third-year event, now sanctioned by USA Triathlon, had 77 athletes compete and 19 of them took on the challenge of the newly added Olympic distance.

David Preston and Molly Hummel, however, both finished over 15 minutes before their closest competitor to take the titles in the Olympic distance, which featured a 1,500-meter swim, a 40-kilometer bike ride and 10K run.

The two winners also had the fastest split in each discipline. Preston posted a 25 minute, 9-second swim, a 1:02:56 bike and 45:07 run to finish with the fastest overall time of 2:16:06.

Hummel clocked splits of 27:05, 1:07:21 and 50:23 to win the women’s crown in 2:27:44, which was the second-fastest overall time.

Michael Mills (2:39:56), Karl Edgerton (2:43:38) Stephen Hiatt (2:45:29) and Caleb Harris-Baker (2:49:20) rounded out the top-five men.

Piper Buck (2:44:39), Nancy Price (2:56:08), Allison Mills (3:09:18) and Sanami Fottral (3:11:45) finished in the top-five of the women’s race.

In the sprint triathlon, where the three disciplines are half as long as the Olympic distances, Overend and Meghan Ritz won the men’s and women’s titles.

Overend, 68, had the fastest bike split by over 2 1/2 minutes of 34:16 and won with a total time of 1:17:35. Second-place finisher Mark Walls had the fastest swim of 12:03 and clocked a total time of 1:19:23. Brett Eller (1:23:30), Ethan Hilton (1:28:49) and Kevin Camp (1:29:43) rounded out the top-five men.

Ritz finished just 32 seconds ahead of Paula Miller to win the women’s title in 1:36:39. Elizabeth Baer (1:40:09), Gretchen Hilton (1:43:06) and Sara McCrate (1:43:27) finished third through fifth.

Team Habiutated, meanwhile, won the team title with a 1:20:48, followed by the Godd Squad (1:22:24) and the Trailheads (1:22:41).

“The race went well,” said director Dave Rakita. “We again had great cooperation from the city parks and rec and special event departments, especially the Lake Nighthorse staff, the county sheriffs and Durango Fire EMTs. The Durango Tri Club did a great job putting on the event with about 35 volunteers there for racers’ needs and direction. Organizing a triathlon, especially one that involves an open water swim, takes an enormous amount of time, planning, and execution. Safety of the participants is always our key concern, which takes even more planning measures. But when the race is over, and the participants beaming with pride tell us what an amazing experience it was, and thank us for putting on such a well-organized race, it makes it so worth the work.”

The event had 48 competitors from outside La Plata County compete, including athletes from Florida and Massachusetts.

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