Reid Races to Career-Best 10th in First Mass Start

By Bill Kellick | March 17, 2019, 5:25 p.m. (ET)

Joanne Reid women's relay
Joanne Reid raced to a career-high 10th-place finish in Sunday's mass start in Ostersund (photo by NordicFocus)

OSTERSUND, Sweden (March 17, 2019) – Joanne Reid (Grand Junction, Colo.) saved the best for last. On the final day of the 11-day IBU Biathlon World Championships, which already saw Reid post a career-best 15th in the women's sprint and help the U.S. women's relay team to a all-time high of ninth place in the 4x6-kilometer relay, the 26-year-old bested her sprint finish with a 10th-place performance in Sunday's 12.5km mass start. It was the first mass start of her career.

On a day that saw none of the 30-woman field shoot clean in the snowfall and strong winds, Reid utilized consistent shooting, with one penalty at each of the four stages, to notch her top-10 finish, 1 minute, 32.1 seconds behind the winning time.

"It’s an odd thing, biathlon. You can have the same shooting result on two different race days and come out with a totally different finish," said Reid. "Of course, I suppose cross-country skiing is a sport in and of itself, and so there’s that part of it. I found myself moderately bemused to come out of my last standing stage in 12th, because I didn’t shoot what on a 'normal' day is a good shooting. But you don’t look a gift horse in the mouth like that, you just put your head down and hammer to the finish, and while you’re hammering, everyone in front of you is a shiny, bright nail."

Competing in her first mass start, Reid also found the intricacies of the format suited her racing style.

"The mass start is a good format for me I think, based on a whopping data set of one, because I break very late in the race, and I start out very slowly. I also have this bizarre personality feature of usually being the speed of the person in front of me, no matter who they are. If you combine both of those, that’s basically what a mass start is all about. Anyway, no matter what I did today, it was going to be a personal mass start best, so the pressure was off for me. It’s a lot tougher to be in the hot seat with the weight of expectation than the vaguely lukewarm seat."

Reid also found comfort and inspiration from her teammates.

"I was really lucky to have my teammates out there cheering me on. It’s a sentence that is overused in interviews, I think, and therefore misunderstood. I know they love me and want me to succeed. Their support means the world, because no one can pick you up like those people who have already seen you at your most tired, your most beaten down, your most exhausted. They are the people that put up with me for four straight months of the year, they see me at my worst and my best, and I always have a little more fight to give for them. If I put on the Stars and Stripes suit on a day where all my teammates don’t get to, you can be damn well sure I’m going to get out there and fight for them. Susan (Dunklee) sat with me through my pre-race meeting with (coach) Armin (Auchentaller), gave me some advice from her experiences, and then she stood out in the wind and snow and screamed her heart out. And when she did... I skied faster. That makes a difference."

As for the 11-day grind of an IBU World Championships, Reid was also able to gain some introspection on the nuances of the sport.

"Some days are good days, easy days. Some days are rugged days, brutal days. You’ll always have both. That’s not just biathlon, that’s life.  Who you become because of it is what matters."

(To see Reid's post-race interview with the IBU CLICK HERE).

Italy's Dorothea Wierer won the women's mass start despite two penalties in the last standing stage. She crossed the line in 37:26.4, 4.9 seconds ahead of Russia's Ekaterina Yurlova-Percht, who also had two penalties. Germany's Denise Herrmann, with four penalties, took the bronze medal, 15.4 seconds behind Wierer.

Clare Egan (Cape Elizabeth, Maine) got off to a strong start by cleaning both prone stages but fell back in the field with five penalties in standing. She finished 26th, 3:01.4 back of Wierer.

In the men's 15km mass start held later in the day in the ever-deepening snow, Sean Doherty (Center Conway, N.H.) placed 21st with four penalties, 1:55.9 back of gold medalist Dominik Windisch of Italy. Windisch, with three penalties, crossed the finish in 40:54.1. The silver medal went to France's Antonin Guigonnat, also with three penalties, 22.8 seconds back. Austria's Julian Eberhard took the bronze, 23.3 seconds behind Windisch with four penalties.

Leif Nordgren (Marine, Minn.) rounded out the U.S. efforts in 30th place, 3:51.7 back with five penalties. Replay of all races with commentary is available thru www.eurovisionsports.tv/ibu.

The final IBU World Cup of the season starts Thursday in Oslo, Norway.

Women's 12.5km mass start results

1.

Dorothea Wierer (ITA)

37:26.4/+2

2.

Ekaterina Yurlova-Percht (RUS)

+4.9/+2

3.

Denise Herrmann (GER)

+15.4/+4

10. Joanne Reid(Grand Junction, Colo.)
+1:32.1/+4
26.
Clare Egan(Cape Elizabeth, Maine)
+3:01.4/+5

 

Men's 15km mass start results

1.

Dominik Windisch (ITA)

40:54.1/+3

2.

Antonin Guigonnat (FRA)

+22.8/+3

3.

Julian Eberhard (AUT)

+23.3/+4

21.

Sean Doherty(Center Conway, N.H.)

+1:55.9/+4

30. Leif Nordgren(Marine, Minn.)
+3:51.7/+5