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Kohlenberg sprints to victory

St. Albert triathlete returns to action to win 30th annual sprint race
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A blast from the past emerged victorious at the 30th annual St. Albert Triathlon.

Ryan Kohlenberg surfaced from a lengthy hiatus on the competitive circuit to win Sunday's sprint race at Fountain Park Recreation Centre.

“It’s my first triathlon I’ve done in a few years so it’s kind of nice to get back out and race,” Kohlenberg said. “The last time I raced any triathlon was 2011 so I had a bit of a break.”

Kohlenberg, 37, finished the 750-metre swim, 20-kilometre bike and five-km run in one hour, seven minutes and four seconds.

“I wasn’t sure what to expect going into it. I haven’t swam much or run much in the past little while so it was better than I expected,” said the 2008 and 2010 champion and 2011 runner-up.

Kohlenberg was inspired to give his hometown triathlon another go.

“Some friends were doing this one so I thought I would too,” said the Bellerose Composite High School alumnus, who was fast as ever.

“You have fitness from years kind of built up,” Kohlenberg said. “Triathlon is one of those good things that you benefit from being active.”

This year’s sprint race featured qualifying berths at the 2020 World Triathlon Championships in Edmonton for the first-place males and females in their respective age divisions providing they were registered with Triathlon Canada. Kohlenberg thought his chances were slim at best so he elected to not shell out the money for the paperwork.

“I didn’t expect to qualify, but I will go watch worlds next year,” said the 35- to 39-age grouper.

The triathlon, hosted by the St. Albert Road Runners and Triathlon Club, and sanctioned by the Alberta Triathlon Association, was like a family reunion for Kohlenberg.

“I know a lot of people that were either in the race or putting it on and when you’re out there racing with your friends like that it’s a lot of fun. It doesn’t feel as hard when you’re kind of racing at home,” said the City of Edmonton employee. “It’s also a well organized event.”

A close second behind Kohlenberg was U20 triathlete Ivan Drotsky of Beaumont at 1:07:15.2

Robert Millar of Smithers, B.C. placed third at 1:07:44.2 for first in the male 40-to-44 age division and Brody Wright of Vernon, B.C. was fourth as the U20 runner-up at 1:08:27.1.

Out of the 154 registered sprint races, 136 triathletes (85 males and 51 females) went the distance.

The try-a-tri (250m swim, 10-km bike and 2.5-km run) featured 27 finishers and four sprint teams also competed.

The number of finishers last year were 119 (66 males and 53 females) in the sprint race, 21 in tri-a-try and five sprint teams.

The winner was 18-year-old James Thomson of St. Albert at 1:02:48.3 and James Dean of St. Albert was second at 1:07:17.9.

Visit zone4.ca for this year’s race results.

Long distance racer

The first award handed out at the post-race ceremony was to Lorie-Ann Lunde-Mjatvedt as the farthest away participant from Bergen, Norway.

“I got an email from my cousin (Gail Ungstad of Slave Lake) about three and a half weeks ago saying, ‘Lorie, I signed you up for a race,’ and I literally freaked out because I’ve never done anything like this in my life. I got really upset,” Lunde-Mjatvedt said. “She then sent me one more email saying it was 750 (metre swim), 20 (kilometre bike) and five (kilometre run), but I have gone for two bike rides in six years literally, I have swam 750 metres two times in nine months and I’ve never really jogged five kilometres so, I turned it around into a challenge."

Lunde-Mjatvedt, 58, was clocked at 2:26:59.8 for sixth in the female 55-to-59 age division.

“Holy cow! I’m so proud. It’s just amazing. I’m going to laugh for the rest of the day. I made it and it was really great,” Lunde-Mjatvedt said “And my cousin who got me into it, she raced today too.”

Ungstad’s time was 2:20:00.8 for fifth in the female 60-to-64 age division.

To say Lunde-Mjatvedt had a blast in her first St. Albert Triathlon was an understatement.

“It was amazing. Lots of nice people everywhere and St. Albert is a really nice area too,” she said. “All the volunteers were great and so were the four ladies I swam with. We were the very first heat and I go slow so I was worried about not being courtesy enough because I don’t know the protocol, but it was reassuring that everyone was so informative, everyone was so kind and no one was stressed. Everyone you met they kept saying, ‘Good job, good job.’

“I’m super impressed that they can promote stuff like this without having that performance anxiety because moving the body in any way for anyone is super important and this just confirmed it.”


Jeff Hansen

About the Author: Jeff Hansen

Jeff Hansen joined the St. Albert Gazette in 1991. He writes about sports, athletes and teams from St. Albert and area.
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