While most of the buzz arising from the ITU Grand Final in Cozumel was about the pros and their World Triathlon Series shockers (Jonny Brownlee’s late race collapse and Flora Duffy’s upset win), several thousand age group competitors fought hard for top performances, medals and pride.
While age group competition was divided into 16 age groups for men and women in both sprint and standard distance creating a total of 64 categories, let us first praise the men and women with the fastest overall finishing times.
Fastest overall times
The fastest overall male time at the 750 meter swim / 20 kilometer bike / 5 kilometer run sprint distance was 58:15 by 30-34 competitor Leonardo Saucedo of Mexico, who edged out 16-19 winner Nathan Breen of Australia by 12 seconds.
The fastest overall female time at the sprint distance was 1:04:36 by 20-24 winner Sara Hortensia Roel of Mexico. Just 2 seconds back was 35-39 winner Margo Mackintosh of Australia.
Francisco Serrano of Mexico, the 35-39 winner, was the fastest overall male competitor at the standard distance (with shortened 1,250 meter swim / 40k bike / 10k run) finishing in 1:51:45. Serrano was 37 seconds faster than the next best effort, 1:52:22 by 20-24 winner Jorge Fernando Alejandre of Mexico.
The fastest overall female time at the standard distance was 2:05:51, set by 20-24 winner Alice Jenkins of Great Britain. Countrywoman Emma Deary, the 25-29 winner, was next-best at 2:06:25.
Female Sprint - 10:04 - Tatiana De A O Marinho (Brazil) F25-29
Male Sprint – 9:26 - Nathan Breen (Australia) M16-19
Male Standard - 15:22 - Andrew Kelsey (USA) M45-49 (fast time due to favorable current)
Female Standard - 19:03 - Tatiana De A O Marinho (BRA) F25-29.
Male Sprint (20km) - 27:58 - Manuel Serrano (MEX) M30-34
Female Sprint (20km) - 30:37 - Kirsten Sass (USA) F35-39
Male Standard (40km) - 53:48 - Alan Michel Carrillo Avila (MEX) M20-24
Female Standard (40km) - 57:40 - Cecilia Davis-Hayes USA F25-29
Female Sprint (5km) - 19:08 - Margo Mackintosh (AUS) F35-39
Male Sprint (5km) - 16:55 - Nathan Breen (AUS) M16-19
Female Standard (10km) - 39:10 - Alice Jenkins (GBR) F20-24
Male Standard (10km) - 34:24 - Jorge Fernando Alejandre (MEX) M20-24
1 second - Male 45-49 Standard distance
1st Esteban Marin (MEX) 2:01:50
2nd Manuel Fernando Cordoba Osomo (MEX) 2:01:51
2 seconds - Male 65-69 Sprint distance
1st Jim Sumara (USA) 1:15:16
2nd Kevin Wills (AUS) 1:15:18
3 seconds - Male 35-39 Sprint distance
1st Alan Siqueira (MEX) 1:00:39
2nd Israel de la Cruz (MEX) 1:00:42
Mexican triathletes posted the only 1-2-3-4-5 sweep, in Male 20-24 at the Cozumel standard distance (Olympic distance shortened to a 1,250 meter swim due to fast currents). Mexico also scored a 1-2-3-4 sweep in the Female 16-19 at the sprint distance and 1-2-3 sweeps in Male 20-24 sprint distance, Male 30-34 standard distance, Male 30-34 sprint distance and Male 45-49 standard distance.
The U.S. posted a 1-2-3-4 sweep in Female 60-64 at the standard distance.
National medals hauls
In an international World Championship, it is natural for nations to vie for bragging rights. The ITU Triathlon Grand Final in Cozumel was no exception as athletes for host country Mexico had a spectacular performance, squaring off with North American rival United States for the most gold and most total medals.
It is a given that host countries almost always reap strong medal performances. In the Olympics, it is a result of national pride – the host country invests more in Olympic athletic development. See Russia (albeit with chemical chicanery) at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, the U.S. at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, the Chinese at Beijing in the 2008 Olympics, and so on. In ITU triathlon world championships, where amateurs compete on their own dime for medals, travel costs are the biggest factor. Europeans dominate in Europe, U.S. triathletes shine at home.
In Cozumel, the Mexican triathletes proved something more than just a home court advantage. While the U.S. team had to travel a bit more, U.S. to Mexico flights were much less than trips from Europe, Asia, South America and Oceania. While Mexico has acquired international respect for the achievements of elites like Crisanto Grajales and Claudia Rivas, USA Triathlon has a long history of grass roots development, professional success, a bigger economy, and a bigger population to draw from. And so, Mexican triathletes’ performances at Cozumel, taken in context, were an outstanding achievement.
So how close were the two nations?
In terms of triathlon gold medals, United States athletes eked out a slim victory – 17 gold to 16 gold for Mexico.
In the total triathlon medal race, Mexico scored 51 in triathlon – 16 gold, 20 silver and 15 bronze. The U.S. had 48 triathlon medals – 17 gold, 12 silver and 19 bronze.
In Aquathlon, the U.S. dominated in gold medals with 10 to Mexico’s 3. However, in total Aquathlon medals, Mexico and the United States tied with 18 apiece.
List of U.S. and Mexico ITU Grand Final Age Group triathlon gold medalists:
F16-19 Sprint Abril Sandoval Bernal - 1:05:45
F20-24 Sprint Sara Hortensia Roel - 1:04:36
M20-24 Standard Jorge Fernando Alejandre - 1:52:22
Male 20-24 Sprint Jorge Fernando Alejandre - 58:56
Male 25-29 Standard Carlos Daniel Chavez - 1:54:44
F30-34 Standard Dunia Gomez - 2:11:13
F30-34 Sprint Dunia Gomez - 1:06:53
M30-34 Standard Gil Cuauhtli - 1:54:05
M30-34 Sprint Leonardo Saucedo - 58:15
M35-39 Standard Francisco Serrano - 1:51:45
M40-44 Standard Eligio Cervantes - 1:57:50
M4044 Sprint Eligio Cervantes - 59:51
M45-49 Standard Esteban Marin - 2:01:50
F50-54 Sprint Maria Luisa Martinez - 1:12:56
M50-54 Sprint Ricardo Probert - 59:44
M55-59 Sprint Jose Ricardo Gonzalez Davila - 1:05:20
M16-19 Standard Ian Hoover-Grinde - 1:57:42
M25-29 Sprint Thomas Barton - 59:48
F35-39 Standard Kirsten Sass - 2:06:53
F50-54 Standard Linda Robb - 2:14:26
M55-59 Standard Kyle Welch - 2:13:38
F60-64 Standard Martha Whitacre - 2:36:58
M60-64 Standard Michael McCombs - 2:19:22
M60-64 Sprint Phillip Friedman - 1:08:07
M65-69 Standard Mike Wien - 2:32:32
M65-69 Sprint Jim Sumara - 1:15:16
F70-74 Sprint Paula Larsen - 1:34:24
F75-79 Standard Peggy McDowell-Cramer - 4:05:35
F75-79 Sprint Patricia Ryan - 2:24:43
M75-79 Standard Vern Holthouse - 3:09:43
M75-79 Sprint Arby Kitzman - 1:29:50
M85-89 Sprint Winston Allen - 2:22:04
And while she was listed as NC (did not complete the course), Sister Madonna Buder indeed competed at the fabulous age of 86.