There have been two Omaha Triathlons, but only one men’s winner.
Sam Holmes won the event for the second year in a row, completing the Cunningham Lake course in 2 hours, 7 minutes, 44 seconds. The 23-year-old from Denver bettered his time from last year by almost three minutes.
“It feels great to come back and repeat my performance,” he said.
More than 700 athletes from 25 states participated in Omaha’s second annual triathlon, race director Alan Kohll said. The Olympic distance team, aqua-bike and sprint distance events began at 6 a.m. Sunday. The kids triathlon, a shorter event, was on Saturday.
About 300 people chose the traditional triathlon, which consists of a 1,500-meter swim, 40-kilometer bike ride and 10-kilometer run. The sprint triathlon, which had about 170 participants, has all three components but is half the distance.
The course began with a swim around the lake, followed by the bike ride on Nebraska 36 and back, then a run along 96th Street. Kohll said the use of the highway made this year’s course safer and better for everyone.
Morgan Chaffin, 28, of Carbondale, Ill., won the women’s Olympic distance in 2:21:03. Originally from Norfolk, Chaffin is a professional triathlete.
“The course was tough, hilly,” she said. “The bike was kind of fun because you could get going on the hills.”
Koll said the number of entrants was down slightly from last year, likely due to conflicts with the Cornhusker State Games triathlon and RAGRBAI. Interest in the kids triathlon, however, spiked.
“It’s encouraging to see so many kids,” Kohll said. “That race went from 70 or so kids last year to about 160 this year.”
Some of the athletes have a favorite part of the race.
For Chaffin, who competed as a cyclist for three years, it’s biking and swimming. Holmes was a competitive swimmer most of his life.
For others, such as Omaha native Katie Scott, it’s nice to look forward to the next part. “When you get tired of one, you’ve got another,” Scott said.
She and her husband, Wesley, have competed in about a dozen triathlons together.
“It’s our dating,” Wesley said. “It’s really bizarre, how our 4- or 5-hour bike rides on the weekend is our time.”
The couple encouraged her family to participate.
“My family came out and is doing this for the first time — my sisters, brother-in-law, dad, cousins — and little niece and nephew did the kids’ one. It’s a family affair,” Katie said. “We wanted them to get involved and experience what we love to do, and hopefully they’ll love to do it, too. It’s just a great sport and fun time.”
TOP 10 RESULTS
• Men’s Sprint: 1, James Lundberg, Omaha, 1:06:09. 2, Callahan Eckardt, Shawnee, Kan., 1:10:54. 3, Lincoln Murdoch, Omaha, 1:14:56. 4, Guillermo Rojas, Colorado Springs, Colo., 1:15:38. 5, Jim Meyer, Omaha, 1:17:38. 6, Patrick Steele, Manhattan, Kan., 1:30:32. 7, John Jarrett, Papillion, 1:21:25. 8, David Rohan, Omaha, 1:21:31. 9, John Grafentin, Allen, Texas, 1:23:12. 10, Kyle Barger, Omaha, 1:23:42.
• Men’s Olympic: 1, Samuel Holmes, Denver, 2:07:44. 2, Eric Sorenson, Annadale, Va., 2:08:05. 3, Kris Spoth, Ames, Iowa, 2:12:23. 4, Gerald Kubiak, Omaha, 2:17:58. 5, Jim Rogers, Omaha, 2:18:55. 6, Craig DeSmet, Bennington, 2:19:46. 7, Taylor Ames, Wheaton, Ill., 2:20:10. 8, Doug Morris, Geneva, Ill., 2:20:25. 9, Adam Little, Omaha, 2:22:59. 10, Tony Pena, Orland Park, Ill., 2:23:14.
• Women’s Sprint: 1, Mary Thum, Sioux Falls, S.D., 1:16:42. 2, Amy McGarry, Omaha, 1:23:22. 3, Melissa Groff, Bennington, 1:24:46. 4, Sarah Fredrickson, Omaha, 1:25:31. 5, Jennifer Conkel, Hudsonville, Mich., 1:29:11. 6, Jayci Zakaras, Omaha, 1:30:33. 7, Mariah Anderson, Kearney, 1:32:02:2. 8, Karen Belair, Omaha, 1:32:08. 9, Hayley Phillips, Omaha, 1:32:25. 10, Amy Wagenknecht, Omaha, 1:32:30.
• Women’s Olympic: 1, Morgan Chaffin, Carbondale, Ill., 2:21:03. 2, Barbara Wehde, Sioux Falls, S.D., 2:32:50. 3, Julie Barr, Papillion, 2:33:53. 4, Kathy Grady, Sioux Falls, S.D., 2:41:54. 5, Holly Beavers, Belleville, Kan., 2:42:20. 6, Rebecca Cota, Maple Grove, Minn., 2:45:35. 7, Rebekah Lawson, Fenton, Mo., 2:45:51. 8, Karen Nelson, Windsor, Colo., 2:46:31. 9, Melissa Kosch, Omaha, 2:48:16. 10, Lisa Smith Cimino, Omaha, 2:50:17.