OLD ORCHARD BEACH — It’s been almost 20 years since Karen Smyers won the Hawaiian Ironman world championship and nearly 25 years since the first of her two International Triathlon Union world championships. Smyers, who turns 53 on Sept. 1, isn’t quite as fast as she used to be, but she’s still fast enough to win races, as she showed Sunday at the third annual Rev3 Triathlon.
Smyers, of Lincoln, Massachusetts, took first place in the Olympic distance women’s division (31.93 miles) with a time of 2 hours, 14 minutes, 14 seconds. The 1995 Hawaiian Ironman winner edged Carrie McCusker of Cape Elizabeth (2:15:31), while Meghan Skidmore of Intervale, New Hampshire, placed third (2:19:47).
Mike Caiazzo, 36, of Falmouth was the overall winner for the Olympic distance – a 1.5-kilometer swim, a 40K bike ride and a 10K run – in 1:56:23, topping a field of 296 finishers. Tim Russell of Saratoga Springs, New York, (2:01:15) and Louis Therien of Gatineau, Quebec, (2:01:31) finished second and third, respectively.
Gregory Dierksen, 28, of Brookline, Massachusetts, convincingly led the way for men in the half ironman race (70.3 miles) with a time of 4:04:10, and Leslie DiMichele, 26, of Reston, Virginia, took first place in the women’s division (4:29:37). There were 282 finishers in the half Ironman distance.
Caiazzo, a nine-year professional, has competed in each of the Rev3 triathlons in Old Orchard Beach. Sunday’s race didn’t start smoothly for the Maine native.
“I had a tough swim. I got hit by a big wave as soon as we went in and I lost my goggles, so my goggles were leaking the whole swim,” Caiazzo said. “So, not a great swim.”
Caiazzo said he competes in about 10 triathlons per year and will compete in South Berwick for the Pumpkinman Triathlon this fall.
Smyers, a 28-year veteran raced the Rev3 at Old Orchard Beach for the second time of Sunday.
“It’s a really fun race. I really like the setting and ambiance,” said Smyers, who helped hand out medals and prizes following her victory.
Race director Eric Opdyke hopes the race returns to Old Orchard Beach next year and said a three-year deal is in the works to keep the race at its current location.
The location was a popular one for many of the triathletes competing Sunday.
“I liked it,” said Renee Durgin of Scarborough, who finished eighth (5:09:27) in the women’s half Ironman. “It’s a beautiful course and a lot of support along the way as far as aid stations and people cheering. It’s nice.”
For amateur triathlete Taylor Black, Sunday was a chance to take a step up. He was competing in his first half Ironman.
“I’ve done a bunch of shorter distances [before] but this is the first time I’ve stepped up to play with the big boys.” Black said.
Bobby Hammond, a 16-year-old from Flanders, New Jersey, finished fourth overall in the Olympic distance race with a time of 2:02:37.