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Switzerland's Wild, Florida's Haskins are winners at St. Anthony's Triathlon

Swiss triathlete Ruedi Wild came from behind on Sunday to win the 31st St. Anthony's Triathlon in 1:46:46, sealing the victory with a 31:41 performance in the run.
Published Apr. 28, 2014

St. Petersburg

Switzerland's Ruedi Wild came from behind to win the 31st annual St. Anthony's Triathlon in 1 hour, 46 minutes, 46 seconds Sunday. Cameron Dye led after the 40-kilometer bike leg, but Wild caught him during the 10-kilometer run, the last leg of the Olympic distance triathlon. "I didn't have a great swim, so I had to really push it on the first 5 or 6 miles of the bike," said Wild, 32, who started his athletic career as a snow skier. "But once I caught up to the pack, I was able to relax a little and save it all for the run." Hunter Lussi, 21, of Kensington, Md., who trains with Olympic gold-medal swimmer Michael Phelps, was the first man out of the water, which was on the rough side thanks to a strong east wind. "It was a tough swim," said Brad Kahlefeldt, 35, who finished second, 23 seconds behind Wild. "I think it really took a lot out of the guys."

Dye, a 30-year-old from Boulder, Colo., came out of the 1.5-kilometer swim with Florida native Hunter Kemper, a member of the U.S. Olympic team who got his start at St. Anthony's Meek & Mighty Triathlon.

"But it is hard to build a big lead when you have 15 dudes chasing you riding together in a pack," said Dye, who finished seventh. "The bike course is very technical, and I do much better when I get out there and just open it up."

Dye hit the run portion first but was quickly caught by Wild, with Kahlefeldt and Kemper on his heels.

"I tried to catch him, but each time I made a push, he held me off," said Kahlefeldt, a two-time Olympian from Wagga Wagga, an Australian town that made the news recently when it was overrun by wolf spiders fleeing rising flood waters. "But hey … this is my first race in the U.S. this year, and I'm happy to finish where I did."

Kemper, who turns 38 next week and now lives in Colorado, said he forgot how hot and humid St. Petersburg can be in late April.

"It was hard out there," he said. "But I am happy to finish third in these conditions."

Wild, who has a master's degree in economics from the University of Zurich, took home a $10,000 check for his efforts.

"I just tried to stay on pace," he said. "I'm happy I could hold them off."

In the women's field, Sarah Haskins, 33, set a course record and took her fifth St. Anthony's title just nine months after giving birth to her first child.

"I felt pretty good," said the Clermont resident, who finished in 1:56:44. "Alicia (Kaye) and I came off the bike together, but I was able to get ahead on the run and hold everybody off."

Haskins took nine seconds off the record she set in 2012. She has had a stellar season since returning to the sport, including winning the Life Times South Beach Triathlon in Miami on April 6.

"This was just like Miami," said Helle Frederiksen, who finished second, 21 seconds behind Haskins. "I tried to catch her, but each time I got close, she would pull away."

Frederiksen, 33, of Denmark ran an Ironman 70.3 (1.9-kilometer swim, 90-kilometer bike and 21.1-kilometer run) two weeks ago in Puerto Rico.

"I still haven't recovered from that," she said. "I didn't start feeling good until I got to the run (Sunday)."

Frederiksen ran the 10 kilometers in 35:18. But third-place finisher Radka Vodickova of the Czech Republic was even quicker with a 35:16.

"It was hot," Vodickova said. "When I knew that I wasn't going to win, I decided to push it so at least I would have the fastest run."

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