By Dave Connery,
local Shelburne triathlete and triathlon coach for 1K2GO
Shelburne resident Jessie Donavan won the Ironman in Lake Placid last Sunday, July 22. Donavan crossed the finish line as the first female competitor in nine hours, 47 minutes. The Ironman is made up of a 2.4-mile swim in Mirror Lake, a 112-mile bike ride through the Adirondack roads surrounding Lake Placid, and finishes with a 26.2-mile marathon. For Donavan, a mother of three and an analyst for UVM, this is her first win since turning professional this year. Previously, she had been a top performer in the New England area at sprint, Olympic, and half Ironman triathlons, even qualifying for the World Championships in two disciplines of triathlon in 2010 and 2011.
Ironman Lake Placid is contested every year in July as part of a worldwide series of Ironman events of the same length. There are races on every continent, culminating in the world championships in Kona, Hawaii, at the world famous location where the Ironman was conceived. The Lake Placid event had 2,488 competitors each of whom was out to qualify for the Hawaii event either in their age group or as a pro.
Donavan began the day with a 1:09 swim, but emerged from the water almost 15 minutes down on the fastest swimmer. She then transitioned to her bicycle and began to steadily move up through the field to finish the bike in first place, with the fastest bike split of 5:19. She then ran a steady pace for the marathon to complete it in 3:13 at an average pace of 7:21/mile. At the finish, her closest competitor was nearly nine minutes behind her.