Andrew Yoder, Laurel Wassner win Columbia Triathlon

Andrew Yoder broke through to win his first professional race in a dominating fashion and Laurel Wassner outran Margaret Shapiro by 20 seconds to take top honors at the Columbia Triathlon Sunday.

The men

Yoder avenged two straight second place results at the hilly demanding Columbia course in a time of 1:54:53 which gave the 20-year-old Lancaster PA native a 3:09 margin of victory over Timothy O’Donnell.

“It is great to break through with a win finally,” said Yoder after the race. “I’ve been second here the last two years here and at Philadelphia. Last year, Terenzo Bozzone passed me with two miles left on the run and I lost by 10 seconds. So even though I started the run with a 4-minute lead, I knew Tim O’Donnell was a phenomenal runner and I pushed hard because I really wanted this win.”

O’Donnell, who was coming to the end of a four races in a five week stretch, led Yoder out of the water but the slender lad with the killer bike motored past like a hydroplane in the first mile and never looked back.

“It was tough from the get go,” said O’Donnell, who shares with Yoder the feeling of losing close races to Terenzo Bozzone after coming out on the short end of duels with the New Zealander at the St. Croix and Texas 70.3 this year. “It was a strong rain and with the hills it was a bit dangerous.” O’Donnell regained form with a win at Florida 70.3 last week, but had no firepower left to come back from Yoder’s 4:20 advantage after the bike. “I didn’t have the extra gear I needed to make a run at Andrew and have to be happy with second today.”

Yoder, who broke into the lead halfway through the bike at California Ironman 70.3 before losing energy and DNFing the run, said he had been working on bolstering his run under the direction of his main coach Matt Dixon and with some advice from famed coach Bobby McGee during a stint in Boulder. “I am encouraged, because Tim O’Donnell only outran me by a minute,” said Yoder. “It’s still a work in progress.”

The women

Laurel Wassner has been on a roll since last year when she joined her twin sister Rebeccah to train under the coaching of Cliff English. She considered her third place at Columbia last year behind Rebeccah and Margaret Shapiro as a competitive breakthrough, but this year at Columbia she emerged into the spotlight alone, albeit on a rainy day.

Rebeccah Wassner and Margaret Shapiro led out of the water, with Laurel Wassner and Natascha Badmann third and fourth. The order remained the same after the tough bike. But soon after the run started, Rebeccah Wassner pulled out with pain in her feet similar to plantar fasciitis. On the run, Laurel Wassner pulled away from Badmann and outdueled Shapiro at the end for her most impressive professional victory.

At the line, Laurel Wassner’s 2:11:53 was 20 seconds ahead of Shapiro, and 2:23 ahead of the legendary 6-time Ironman World Champion Badmann, who took third at age 43.

Yoder photo courtesy Brian Shea of

Columbia Triathlon
Columbia Maryland,
May 23, 2010
S 1.5k / B 41k / R 10k



1. Andrew Yoder (Columbia PA) 1:54:53
2. Timothy O’Donnell (Boulder CO) 1:58:02
3. Dan McKenzie (Denver CO) 1:58:23
4. Patrice Hamelin (CAN) 1:58:44
5. Timothy DeBoom (Boulder CO) 1:59:10
6. James Hadley (GBR) 1:59:32
7. Holden Comeau (Philadelphia PA) 1:59:46
8. Matthew Wisthoff (Wilmington NC) 2:00:21
9. Greg Remaly (Mill Valley CA) 2:05:00
10. Mike Caiazzo (Westbrook ME) 2:05:25


1. Laurel Wassner (Hoboken NJ) 2:11:53
2. Margaret Shapiro (Herndon VA) 2:12:07
3. Natascha Badmann (SUI) 2:14:16
4. Manon Letourneau (CAN) 2:17:07