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August 15, 2014
by Karen Price


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Meehan rebounds to win national sprint title

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Allison Park’s Mike Meehan won the USA Triathlon National Age Group Championship overall title in the sprint distance race in Milwaukee on Sunday, but on Saturday night his dad wasn’t sure what was going to happen the next day.

Triathlon is a family pursuit for the Meehans, and dad Matt and younger brother Dan were also racing last weekend. Saturday was the Olympic distance race, in which both Matt and Mike competed. Matt Meehan was happy with his finish of 52nd overall in the men’s 50-54 age group with a time of 2:16:06, but Mike couldn’t say the same.

He overheated on the swim and cramped in the hip and calf the entire time he was on the bike. Mike said his body was completely drained by the time he started the run, and he couldn’t perform to the level he wanted and finished 27th in the men’s 20-24 age group with a time of 2:02:38.

“It was depressing,” Matt Meehan said. “It was like we were in a funeral home Saturday night. He didn’t want to talk. He normally has a little arrogance and cockiness, you have to have that a little bit, and he just had his tail between his legs. I didn’t even know if he was going to race on Sunday.”

Mike said he was concerned, too, about how his body would respond.

“I just tried putting it to the back of my mind and not thinking about it,” he said. “Even though I had a bad race Saturday didn’t mean I was going to have one the next day.”

Matt Meehan was in one of the earlier waves for Sunday’s sprint race and was already done competing when Mike and Dan went out in the final heat of the day featuring all the 24 and under men. He got to monitor their progress, told Mike he was leading his age group during the run and ultimately got to not only watch Mike win but also see Dan finish 20th in the 15-19 age group and qualify for the ITU World Championship in Chicago in 2015.

Mike said it was even more special winning the overall title with his brother and father there with him.

“My brother had a torn labrum the whole summer and still qualified for world’s, and my dad did as well as he could since having knee surgery in the spring,” Mike Meehan said. “It was really exciting and I was glad for them to be there. Both my dad and brother were really encouraging after Saturday saying keep your head up, you’re better than that. I’m very glad they were with me.”

Matt Meehan, who’s been doing triathlons since 1983, said he would have been proud of Mike even if he didn’t win to bounce back from a rough race on Saturday. To have him win it all, he said, was incredible.

“I was never that good to end up on the podium like that, and it was really neat to see him occupy a space that in my mind was for guys who you look at and think, ‘Those are the top guys in the nation,’” he said. “Now my son’s up there.”

Victory wasn’t only for the Meehan boys, however. Daughter Ally, 13, stayed home and won the Janney & the Y North Park Triathlon.

“I told my kids it’s the greatest sports day our family has ever had,” Matt Meehan said.

Several other Western Pennsylvania residents turned in top performances competing against the fastest amateur triathletes in the nation.

Ligonier’s Heather Westerman, 42, won the women’s 40-44 age group with a time of 1:09:07.

Ian Baun, of Mt. Lebanon, finished second in the men’s 15-19 age group with a time of 1:00:27. Baun, 17, won the Pittsburgh Triathlon sprint distance race the weekend before with a time of 55:53.

Nearly 1,750 athletes competed in Sunday’s sprint race, consisting of a 750-meter swim, 20K bike and 5K run, and 3,100 competed in Saturday’s Olympic distance race (1,500-meter swim, 40k bike and 10K run). Roughly nine Western Pa. athletes competed Saturday and 30 on Sunday.

Competition was even stronger than usual with spots in the 2015 ITU World Championships on the line. The top 25 finishers in each age group automatically qualified for a spot in the race, which be held in Chicago in September 2015. It is the first time the sprint and Olympic worlds will be held in the U.S. since 2005.

Additional area finishers in the sprint distance race were: Steve Corey, 66, Pittsburgh, 33rd men 65-69, 1:32:21; John Reed, 56, New Wilmington, 37th men 55-59, 1:18:33; Matthew Meehan, 50, Allison Park, 34th men 50-54, 1:10:16; Heather Melzer, 45, Mars, 10th women 45-49, 1:12:04; Dustin Wehler, 34, Pittsburgh, 85th men 30-34, 1:16:52, Dan Meehan, 18, Allison Park, 20th men 15-19, 1:04:34; John Reed, 16, Gibsonia, 56th men 15-19, 1:10:43.

Ashley Kearcher, 26, of Morgantown, who won the Pittsburgh Triathlon sprint the weekend before, finished fifth in the women’s 25-29 group with a time of 1:12:17.

Several Western Pa. folks qualified for worlds in the Olympic distance race.

Roger Brockenbrough, 80, of Mt. Lebanon, finished second in the men’s 80-84 age group with a time of 3:19:55. Heather Melzer, who finished 10th in the sprint on Saturday, finished seventh in her 45-49 age group in 2:19:46. Michael Kearns, 60, of Pittsburgh, was 10th in the men’s 60-64 group with a time of 2:21:01, and Kelly Collier, 25, of West Mifflin, was seventh in the women’s 25-29 age group in 2:15:03.

Other area finishers in the Olympic distance included: Deborah Sagan, 61, Wexford, 39th women 60-64, 3:08:24; Lyman Ringbloom, 64, Pulaski, 104th men 60-64, 3:06:45; Lisa Myers, 51, Mars, 151st women 50-54, 3:14:49; Matthew Meehan, 50, Allison Park, 52nd men 50-54, 2:16:06; Peter Valentino, 50, Brownsville, 128th men 50-54, 2:28:03; Gregory Reed, 51, Gibsonia, 139th men 50-54, 2:28:03; Tammy Powell, 47, Cochranton, 89th women 45-49, 2:40:54; Kimberly Price, 42, Pittsburgh, 160th women 40-44, 2:52:28; Matthew Hawes, 41, Pittsburgh, 146th men 40-44, 2:24:33; Kenny Lehman, 40, Mars, 174th men 40-44, 2:28:51; Kara Andersson, 37, Latrobe, 174th women 35-39, 2:50:18; Sally Sherman, 36, Mars, 185th women 35-39, 2:55:54; Craig Foos, 37, Pittsburgh, 49th men 35-39, 2:08:25; Matthew Guillon, 36, Murrysville, 108th men 35-39, 2:16:17; Sarah Breisinger, 32, Ligonier, 95th women 30-34, 2:40:22; Cara King, 32, Pittsburgh, 160th women 30-34, 3:03:49; Jeffrey Nelson, 33, Monaca, 146th men 30-34, 2:26:14; Christopher Garman, 33, Castle Shannon, 154th men 30-34, 2:28:59; Dustin Wehler, 34, Pittsburgh, 156th men 30-34, 2:30:01; John Bielewicz, 31, Pittsburgh, 163rd men 30-34, 2:32:34; Edie Nault, 26, Pittsburgh, 32nd women 25-29, 2:24:29; Sara Gelder, 28, Jeannette, 67th women 25-29, 2:35:51; Hannah Pierskalla, 24, Pittsburgh, 39th women 20-24, 2:32:52; Erin Edmiston, 24, Hollidaysburg, 47th women 20-24, 2:36:39, Mike Meehan, 20, Allison Park, 27th men 20-24, 2:02:38.

 

Mike Meehan, photo submitted by Gary Baun.

Mike Meehan, photos submitted by Gary Baun.

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= One last item…wish I’d posted this a lot earlier but today is the last day of voting for the Runner’s World cover contest and Ed Lychik is in the running (no pun intended, of course). I first met Ed, an amputee veteran who lost his left leg in Afghanistan on his 21st birthday, a year ago at the Spartan Race in Wintergreen, Va., competing with an amazing group called Operation Enduring Warrior. I’ve interviewed lots of people over the years, many of whom left an impression, but few more so than this man. As I’ve kept up with him via social media I continue to be in awe of his positivity and outlook on life.

If you want to read my story from a year ago on OEW and get a little background on Ed, go here:

http://triblive.com/sports/nationworldsports/4660477-74/team-galloway-lychik#axzz3ATa88FVR

And if you just want to vote to help put him on the cover of Runner’s World, go here:

http://covercontest.runnersworld.com/entry/1077/

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August 13, 2014
by Karen Price


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Moraine Adventure Dash this Saturday

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Grassroots Racing’s Moraine Adventure Dash is this Saturday, and if you’re looking for a different type of adventure challenge, check it out. The MAD, held every year since 2006 at Moraine State Park, follows a fairly traditional off-road triathlon format, except the course is not marked and racers must use a map and compass to navigate their way to as many control points as they can within a given time frame. Frank and Bethann always manage to design challenging yet doable courses that test racers’ brains as well as their brawn, and this race has always been one of the most popular in their annual series.

There’s a 1 to 1.5-mile swim, 15-25 mile bike course partly on single track and partly on country roads and then a run, and navigation is required on the bike and the run. This isn’t a race where everything is laid out for you. You have to know your way around a map and compass. There’s a 3-hour and a 6-hour option, followed by food.

Anyone who wants to register and hasn’t yet still has time, and the fee has been reduced to $35 per racer but you must email grassrootsracing@rootsrace.com to confirm ASAP and pay by cash or check on race day.

They are also looking for some more volunteers to help out on the swim patrol so for anyone who has a kayak or wants to get in the water, email them.

Race description on their website here:

http://www.grradventureraces.com/mad.html

= Registration rates increase by $10 on Thursday for the EQT Pittsburgh 10 Miler on Nov. 9. Right now, registration is $50 plus a $4.63 sign-up fee.

http://www.pittsburgh10miler.org/%2Fregister

= Here’s a link to the Battlefrog website

http://battlefrogseries.com/pittsburgh-2014/

It’s an obstacle course/mud run at Mines & Meadows ATV resort in Wampum and there is a 5K and a 15K option. Prices listed are $106 for the 15k and $76 for the 5K, but I went here…..

http://rush49.com/deals/battlefrog-race-series-pittsburgh?gclid=Cj0KEQjwmayfBRDo25CR9un4hvEBEiQAv9fBbQ060sUBEObbYLvEdmMYaT6-OC3UshmGL0YFlrWBbvUaAk448P8HAQ

and got a voucher for the 15K for $49. The 5K was only $30. It sounds like an interesting race…designed by U.S. Navy SEALs, the 15k course has 25 obstacles, the website says that SEALs will actually be on the course to coach you through some of the obstacles and that the race supports several charities related to the SEALs. Some friends and I did the Foam Fest 5K in June at the same place and it’s fun terrain that includes actually going through a mine. I admit I’m a little nervous since my only “training” the past month has been packing, moving and unpacking boxes at our new house, but at least now I have reason to get back out there and get ready for more cargo nets, wall climbs and the dreaded monkey bars.

= And finally, this list of 10 Must-do Marathons Around the World is on active.com and some of them actually make me want to run a marathon. My favorite is the Marathon du Medoc. Here’s the description:

“A wine and food festival disguised as a marathon, the Marathon du Medoc held in the southwest of France near Bordeaux offers food stands and wine tastings along the entire course. Among the fine fare offered are oysters, cheese, meats and fruits, with the region’s world-famous wines to wash everything down.”

I’m guessing there aren’t a whole lot of PRs recorded at that one.

http://www.active.com/running/articles/10-must-do-marathons-around-the-world

 

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July 16, 2014
by Karen Price


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Strong field expected for Liberty Mile

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It’s almost time for the third annual Liberty Mile, one of the races that falls under the umbrella of the Pittsburgh Marathon, and once again the organizers have attracted a competitive field. One thing I really like about this race is that it’s so accessible to spectators. It’s short, fast, and the finish can be dramatic.

Last year’s race is the perfect example. Macklin Chaffee, who said he’d never won a race against top mile-distance runners, chased most of the way but took the lead with 300 meters to go and won in a photo finish with a time of 4:00.49. Jordan McNamara, the second-place finisher, ran it in 4:00.52. If that isn’t a close finish, I don’t know what is. The third-place finisher had a time of 4:01.2.

McNamara is back this year, and his toughest competition may come from Leo Manzano, a 29-year-old Olympic silver medalist in the 1500 meters. They also have at least five sub-4 American milers expected to compete.

Also returning this year is Heather Kampf, who’s been the fastest woman the past two years in a row. I wrote about her prior to last year’s race and mentioned her incredible finish at the 2008 Big 10 Indoor Track Championship 600-meter dash. If you don’t know, I won’t give away what happens, but you can watch here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uqnqLrakxY8

Racing begins at 7 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 1, with the women’s and men’s professional races beginning later in the hour. As it gets closer to race day I’ll have more information and a story or two both in the print edition and online.

In the meantime, if you want to register go to www.libertymile.org. Last year’s race drew about 1,200 participants, and another nice thing about this race is that it’s doable for runners of all abilities and especially wonderful for families with little kids who want to run but get stuck waiting at the finish for mom or dad at most races. The very first wave is One for Fun for recreational runners of all ages and Kids of Steel for children 13 and under and their parents.

= SUP 3 Rivers and Friends of the Riverfront are joining forces for a stand up paddle boarding event on Thursday night from 6-9 p.m. along the North Shore. If you’ve never tried SUP but always wanted to, now you can and your money will go toward maintenance and expansion of the Three Rivers Water Trail. If you have good balance and a reasonably strong core you should catch on pretty quickly, and, if not, you can always start kneeling or even sitting until you get more comfortable.

$25 gets you a 40-minute session and includes all the necessary equipment, and sessions will be offered at 6 p.m., 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. Info and registration here:

http://friendsoftheriverfront.org/sup/

 

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July 11, 2014
by Karen Price


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Open Streets coming to Pittsburgh

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Welcome to the Trib’s new outdoors and adventure sports blog. I’m excited to have this space to talk about running, biking, climbing, obstacle course racing, marathons, 5Ks, 10Ks, triathlons, kayaking, hiking ….you get the idea. In other words, all the many different and wonderful things to do outdoors here in Western Pennsylvania as well as the people doing them.

So to kick things off on this gorgeous Friday, I spoke to Mike Carroll of Bike PGH about an upcoming event called Open Streets PGH that will take place on Sunday, July 20 from 8 a.m. to noon.

According to Carroll, the Open Steets movement started in Bogota, Colombia, as Ciclovia. Every Sunday, they close down major arteries throughout the city to automobile traffic and open them up to walkers, runners, cyclists, dancers and allow pretty much anything and everything that doesn’t involve a motor vehicle. Hundreds of thousands show up every week and it creates a vibrant scene filled with people being outdoors and active in spaces normally occupied by cars.

The idea has spread to roughly 100 U.S. cities, including Los Angeles, Atlanta and New York, and after several years in the planning, it’s now coming here.

This year’s event will start small, Carroll said. Streets will be closed to motorized traffic downtown from Market Square to the Roberto Clemente Bridge. It isn’t a festival, so there won’t be vendors or live music or any type of planned entertainment. There will be free activities, however, including dance classes, yoga classes, Zumba classes, spin bikes, a climbing wall and a no-snow snowboarding demo on the Clemente Bridge courtesy of Seven Springs.

Aside from that, whatever you want to do in the middle of the road – ride a bike, walk, run, wander with your camera, dance, hop, skip, jump rope, pogo stick, unicycle, etc. – is completely up to you.

The idea, Carroll said, is simply to open the streets and let people be outdoors, be active and have fun.

If all goes well this year, they plan to expand to other neighborhoods for future events and open roads that would connect, say, Market Square to the Strip District, the Strip to Lawrenceville and Lawrenceville to East Liberty. Other cities have seen positive impacts on local businesses during Open Streets events, he said, and they hope the same thing would happen here, whether it’s wandering into a café or restaurant located where parking may often be difficult or a shop that you may have driven past a hundred times but just never noticed.

“In other cities this is a big cycling event because it connects neighborhoods and allows people to ride in a safe way between neighborhoods in their city,” Carroll said. “This year will be more a pedestrian event but in the future we’re really excited to connect neighborhoods and show people how to get around the city by bike in a safe way.”

To stay up to date on Open Streets happenings (and get the chance to win a new bike), go to http://bikepgh.org/openstreetspgh/ and click on subscribe to get on the email list.

= In other cycling-related news, the Pittsburgh Trails Advocacy Group (or PTAG) is hosting the 9th Annual Trailfest the weekend of July 18-20. These are free events for all ages beginning on Friday, July 18, at 6 p.m. at Hartwood Acres. Meet at Middle road parking lot for mountain bike rides, trail runs and hiking at 6 p.m. It continues on Saturday at Boyce Park soccer field for rides, runs and hikes at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. (registration at 9:30 a.m.), followed by lunch provided by Bug Burrito/Mad Mex and adult beverages by Full Pint Brewery. Free food for PTAG members, non-members can join or make a donation. Then on Sunday the fun moves to the North Park boathouse. Bike and running vendors as well as food trucks will be on site and hikes, runs and rides will be going on throughout the day. Sponsored by Over the Bar Café. Check out www.ptagtrails.org for more information on the organization or Trailfest.

= Friends of the Riverfront and the YMCA are sponsoring a triathlon practice run this Sunday. These free workshops will cover open water basics, give participants a chance to ride on the HOV lanes and run the sprint course and talk strategy and transitions. For more info go to http://friendsoftheriverfront.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Pittsburgh-Triathlon-Practice-Run.pdf.

= Speaking of the Pittsburgh Triathlon, have you always wanted to do it but the thought of swimming in the river terrifies you or possibly disgusts you? Did you once have that fear but did it anyway and, if so, what helped you get past it? If you have a story, drop me a line at kprice@tribweb.com.

That’s all for now. Have a great weekend, everyone.

– Karen

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