Ohio man runs down defending champ to win triathlon
Chad Holderbaum is always a favorite to win the Pittsburgh Triathlon, but the defending champion couldn't match the foot speed of Nick Glavac in Sunday's international distance race.
Glavac, 28, of Mentor, Ohio, caught Holderbaum midway through the 10K run in the final leg of the race and won with a time of 1:57:07. Holderbaum finished second, clocking in at 1:59:15.
“(Holderbaum) pushed me pretty hard,” Glavac said. “I was chasing him down really hard the whole way. On the bike, I kept seeing him and kept estimating the gap. It's a loop course, so I saw him a couple times and saw how far ahead he was of me. Luckily, I had some good running legs and was able to run him down. When I passed him, I passed him pretty good and tried to look comfortable even though I was hurting.”
Holderbaum won in 2011 and '14, and he placed second in '12. He and Glavac are professional triathletes who normally focus on much longer races, including Ironman and Half-Ironman distances.
“It was good until he caught me on that turnaround on the run,” said Holderbaum, 35, of North Huntington. “My big race is next weekend up in Canada, so I kind of jumped into this last minute. I saw that (Glavac) was racing, and I was like, all right, I actually have to work today. I tried to hold him off best I could, but he had the legs in him to run me down.”
Bobby Thorborg, 24, of Falls Church, Va., finished third in the men's race.
Ashley Kearcher, 27, of Hershey, won the women's race with a time of 2:27:27, beating Amanda Brodish (2:30:26) and Robin Scaife, 30, a Northern California native now living in Mt. Lebanon, who finished in 2:31:36.
Approximately 150 competitors and 10 relay teams finished Sunday's race.
Kearcher competed in the shorter sprint distance triathlon the past seven years and won in 2014, then finished second Saturday before competing in the international distance for the first time Sunday.
She also made her move on the turnaround of the run to pass two women and move into first.
Kearcher, like many, had good reviews of the venue change from the North Shore to Point State Park. The 1,500-meter swim was still in the Allegheny River, albeit entering and exiting from the opposite bank than in previous years. The bulk of the 40K bike portion still consisted largely of two laps on the I-279 HOV lane.
The 10K run changed the most, taking runners around the fountain, and then along the Allegheny, across the Roberto Clemente Bridge and toward Washington's Landing on the riverfront trail before turning around.
“I loved the run in general, running around the Point,” Kearcher said. “It was a little change, but I really liked the whole thing.”