Fairhope, Alabama - 7am race start
By Lance Steed
Let’s go back a ways to see just how far the Grandman Triathlon has come. The Grandman Triathlon started out as the Pelican Point Triathlon back on June 1, 2001. There were around 200 participants. The race was the brainchild of Jeff Pollock, an M.D. who had recently graduated from University of South Alabama and was doing his internship in Radiology. His wife, Erika Pollock, was an outstanding female triathlete who was winning every race in sight - not just by a little but in a lot of cases finishing in the top 5 overall. She had me frequently looking over my shoulder.
Together, Jeff and Erika tirelessly labored to organize and promote the Pelican Point race. I remember seeing Jeff after the inaugural race, bullhorn in hand with a large straw hat, and he told me he was utterly exhausted from the effort. He hadn’t slept a wink the night before. They did not have all the resources and the large volunteer staff that the Grandman has today. They largely pulled this off themselves.
The Pelican Point location was a nice venue but it also served as a popular local boat launch. After a few years and many complaints from local fisherman (and others) – failure to launch. Jeff managed to change the race site to the Fairhope Pier and the name to The Grandman Triathlon.
Jeff and Erika moved away around 2006 and turned over the management of the event to Mobile Bay Keepers/Bay Watch and Casi Calloway. The race has steadily grown over the years and now is much more than just a good local race – it’s a regional event and this year had over 700 participants. Wow!
I am not sure if Jeff and Erika had envisioned their race becoming the event it is today. And of course, Casi Calloway has taken what Jeff and Erika started and truly made it a signature event for our area. Kudos to Jeff, Erika, Casi and the countless volunteers (like the Hartley’s) who have made this event what it is today.
Now about this 2015 race… Perfect conditions. Mild temps (warm but not hot), light winds, calm water, and just a healthy touch of humidity yielded fast times for many.
GCTT dominated in almost every Age Category. We have a fast team indeed:
Sam Hudson: 1:11:19 Overall Winner
Smoked swim and blistered bike (41:07)
Allen Stanfield:1:11:42 2nd Overall
Balanced splits with impressive run
Eric Larson:1:13:06 3rd Overall
Fastest run split of the day 17:37 on a long 5k course (it’s like 3.25 miles)
Chad Hon:Male Master win
Solid time of 1:15:39
Johnny Harrison:Male Grandmasters Winner
Incredible 1:15:00 time. AARP cardholders can’t go this fast – except for Johnny.
Male Age Group 1-19:
Joey Pocreva:2nd in Male 1-19 with a great time of 1:16:26. Joey’s run has really come around.
Male Age Group 20-24:
Caleb Earhart:1st Male 20-24. His time of 1:16:39 is impressive and no one was close.
Male Age Group 25-29:
Logan Roberts:1st Male 25-29. 1:14:16 with a bike time of near 42:00 flat. He may make a run for being the team’s strongest cyclist in years to come.
Male Age Group 30-34:
Rob Felty:1st Male 30-34. 1:14:09.
Strong swim and run for Rob.
Chris Knerl:2nd Male 30-34. 1:14:49
Nice race by Chris. Strong bike.
Male Age Group 35-39:
Aaron Runyon:1st Male 35-39
Solid time of 1:17:15
Male Age Group 40-44: Since Sam was OA, we had no one claim a spot for this category. We need a little more depth here.
Male Age Group 45-49:
Jeff Conrad:1st Male 45-49
Lance Steed - 2nd Male 45-49
Male Age Group 50-54:
Randy Walton:2nd Male 50-54
Balanced Race – 1:17:55
Male Age Group 55-59:Since Johnny won Grandmaster, we had no one claim a spot here. Depth is needed in this age group. Randy will be there before long to help out!
Male Age Group 60-64:
Terry Bailey:2nd Male 60-64
1:26:21 Nice job.
*Doug Jones DNS race to a recent collarbone/cycling injury. This occurred at IM Texas several weeks ago. Doug would have assuredly been on the podium in the 60-64 Age Category. We wish Doug a speedy recovery and appreciate him coming out to support the team even though he could only cheer us on with one arm.
*Another sure-fire podium bet in the 45-49 was Andrew Rothfeder. Andrew went down hard on the Bike, losing 30% of his epidermis on the course but still managed to complete the race. Way to tough it out Andrew!
Post race activities at The Grandman were exceptional. The shaded area near the finish line offers comfort as well as a beautiful vantage point looking out over Mobile Bay. GCTT teammates and friends were able to rehydrate, relax and rehash the day’s events. Food, music, massage tables and cold beer – it was indeed a Good Day! GCTT looks forward to Grandman2016!