‘Splash and Dash’ nixed

Joey Payeur

The waters of Rainy Lake will be quieter this summer, as will the footpaths in and around Point Park.
Rainy Lake Triathlon Club organizer Jeff Tilbury confirmed on Monday there will be no third edition this summer of the “Splash and Dash” duathlon which has taken place the past two years.
“We were originally looking at doing a triathlon this summer, but we couldn’t get the permission we needed from the MTO for use of the roads in the area because of all the work being done,” stated Tilbury.
“So then we looked at doing ‘Splash and Dash’ again,” he continued.
“But earlier this year, we were connecting with people on the organizing committee who had commitments that were going to make for a busy year for a lot of the people usually involved in both organizing and participating in the race.
“That was making for low energy levels for those people and combined with some injuries that people suffered that would have made it difficult for them to compete or organize, we decided to not have it this year,” he acknowledged.
The immediate plan for the club is to look at a full-blown sprint distance triathlon for next summer.
Tilbury has been the most active of the club members on the competitive scene this summer, with two more strong results posted in the past two weeks.
At the Brewhouse Triathlon in Duluth, Minn., on Aug. 1, Tilbury was second out of 11 entrants in the men’s 45-49 age group and 37th out of 199 overall competitors in the short course event (750m swim, 20km bike, 5km run) with a time of 1:16.50.
Tilbury looked to be in business after cutting through the water in 14:48 and then wheeling to a bike time of 33:25 to lead Joel Harris (Hermantown, Minn.) by nearly five minutes with one stage left.
But Harris kicked it into overdrive on the run portion with a blistering mark of 21:16 and dashed by Tilbury (25:39) down the homestretch to beat the Fort resident to the finish line by seven seconds with a mark of 1:16.43.
“My running has been a little bit tough for me this year,” admitted Tilbury.
“I’ve lost a lot of places in the standings because of my running.”
A week later, it was a much-improved Tilbury who wound up winning the men’s 40-49 division by almost seven minutes and finishing an impressive third place overall in the short course category of the Backus Rainy Lake Triathlon in International Falls this past Saturday with a time of 1:03.25.
After blasting through the quarter-mile (just over 400m) swim in 6:48, Tilbury rocketed to a 28:19 in the 11 mile (nearly 18 km) cycling portion.
That gave him enough of a cushion to let his 5km run time of 26:29 hold off divisional runner-up Todd Kockelman (Stillwater, Minn.), who ended up with a mark of 1:10.07.
Race winner Matthew Brown (Plymouth, Minn., 58:48) and Father Ben Hadrich (International Falls, 59:39) were the only competitors in the entire 43-person field to keep Tilbury behind them.
“Things are coming along, as it showed on Saturday, and I’ve bene able to stay relatively injury-free this season,” emphasized Tilbury, who will next head to Pinawa, Man., for an event there on Aug. 23.
Then it will likely be a final dose of intensive training before the highlight of Tilbury’s race year when he participates in the Age Group Sprint World Championships at the International Triathlon Union Grand Final Chicago in the legendary Windy City in the state of Illinois on Sept. 17, for which the qualifications were held last year.
“My energies have certainly been focused on the worlds,” declared Tilbury.
Fort Frances’ Brian Tolley was 12th out of 22 racers in the men’s 40-44 group abd 104th overall in Duluth with a mark of 1:30.46 behind category winner Ryan Saline (Cloquet, Minn.), who stopped the clock at 1:06.04 to wind up seventh overall.
At this Saturday’s showdown in the Falls, Emo’s Megan Seabrook took part in her first competition of the season by placing third in the female 20-29 class and 36th overall with a time of 1:31.33.
Jackie Otto (Blaine, Minn.) won the group with a mark of 1:16.21.
Tilbury’s better half, meanwhile, had her own nice day in the Falls, as Wendy Tilbury was fourth in the female 40-49 division and 16th overall with a clocking of 1:13.54.
On the men’s side, a pair of flying Fort folks wound up one behind the other behind Tilbury in the men’s 40-49 class.
Jason Kabel landed fourth spot in the group (13th overall) with a time of 1:12.18, while former Fort resident and current Winnipeger Ben Andrusco was fifth (15th overall) in 1:13.38.