ARKADELPHIA, Ark. — Off-road amateur triathletes Kelli Montgomery and Chuck Sloan raced their way to overall titles on Sunday at the USA Triathlon Off-Road National Championships, held at DeGray Lake in conjunction with XTERRA Gator Terra.
The event, originally scheduled as a 1,500-meter swim, 32-kilometer bike and 10-kilometer trail run, was impacted by heavy rains in the area prior to race day. The course was changed to a 1,500m swim, 24-mile bike and 8.6-mile run course, with athletes competing over forest roads, meadows and other off-road surfaces.
Montgomery (Wallingford, Conn.) was the top finisher for the women, clocking in at 3 hours, 47 minutes, 56 seconds to claim the overall win and the women’s 40-44 age-group title. She finished around 2:30 ahead of Nikki Balderson (Lakeland, Tenn.), who was second overall and the winner of the women’s 35-39 age group in 3:50:24, while Kristen Wade (Plano, Texas) was third overall and second in the women’s 35-39 age group in 4:00:48.
“It was tough. I really enjoyed it. Coming from New England, the fact that it was kind of wet and a little muddy, I think definitely played a part for me,” said Montgomery, who is planning to race later this month in Alabama. “I have to say, they get an A-plus for organization. This is the best off-road triathlon in terms of directions and having to make those last-minute course changes. I think they did a great job just letting everyone know. I’d definitely come back here, it’s beautiful. It wasn’t crowded out on the course, it was well-marked. It was a fun course.”
Sloan (Tulsa, Okla.) had the fastest time of the day, with a final time of 3:15:58. In addition to the overall title, he also claimed the top spot in the men’s 35-39 age group. His time was just over 2 minutes faster than Nate Youngs (Boring, Ore.), who posted a time of 3:18:15 to finish second overall and second in the men’s 35-39 age group. Marcus Barton was third overall and the winner of the men’s 45-49 age group with a time of 3:20:55.
“It was a long day. It was a little muddy, but the trail conditions are amazing considering how much rain they got, and the fact that they moved everything around – they did a good job of scrambling to make it happen,” said Sloan, who recently raced IRONMAN 70.3 New Orleans and is racing another XTERRA event in a few weeks. “I got lucky, and I just managed to keep my head down and keep charging. It just goes to show that if you keep going, you never know what could happen.”
Twenty-one athletes captured age-group Off-Road Nationals titles at DeGray Lake on Sunday, including Daryl Weaver (40-44, Lititz, Pa.) and Stephanie Landy (55-59, Ballston Spa, N.Y.), who successfully defended their 2015 titles. In total, 150 athletes from 31 states competed in the event.
The top 18 finishers in each age-group qualified to represent Team USA at the 2017 ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships, which will be held as part of the new ITU Multisport World Championship Festival. The 10-day event will be held in Penticton, British Columbia, from Aug. 18-27, and will also award world champions in aquathlon, duathlon and long-distance triathlon. Team USA is comprised of the nation's top multisport athletes who represent the U.S. at each ITU World Championships event. Visit usatriathlon.org/teamusa for more on Team USA.
2016 USA Triathlon Off-Road National Champions
Overall Female: Kelli Montgomery (Wallingford, Conn.), 3:47:56
Overall Male: Chuck Sloan (Tulsa, Okla.), 3:15:58
M17-19: Ben Wilson (Fayetteville, Ark.), 6:07:17
M20-24: Jace Chesson (Arkadelphia, Ark.), 5:10:50
F25-29: Samantha Kennedy (East Lansing, Mich.), 4:13:21
M25-29: Jon Hughes (San Diego, Calif.), 3:56:59
F30-34: Abby Johnson (Hudsonville, Mich.), 4:05:50
M30-34: Kyle Grieser (Marble Falls, Texas), 3:23:44
F35-39: Nikki Balderson (Lakeland, Tenn.), 3:50:24
M35-39: Chuck Sloan (Tulsa, Okla.), 3:15:58
F40-44: Kelli Montgomery (Wallingford, Conn.), 3:47:56
M40-44: Daryl Weaver (Lititz, Pa.), 3:27:40
F45-49: Christina Halioris (Crestwood, Ky.), 4:40:53
M45-49: Marcus Barton (Waxhaw, N.C.), 3:20:55
F50-54: Paula Maresh (Littleton, Colo.), 4:19:20
M50-54: Jay Curwen (Asheville, N.C.), 3:27:31
F55-59: Stephanie Landy (Ballston Spa, N.Y.), 4:16:18
M55-59: Casey Fannin (Birmingham, Ala.), 3:52:56
F60-64: Martha Buttner (Boulder, Colo.), 4:35:45
M60-64: Johnny Davis (Boulder, Colo.), 4:02:44
F65-69: Cindi Toepel (Pahrump, Nev.), 4:45:49
M65-69: Michael Orendorff (Pueblo, Colo.), 4:07:57
M70-74: Dale Vaughan (Macon, Ga.), 4:45:09
About USA Triathlon
USA Triathlon is proud to serve as the National Governing Body for triathlon, as well as duathlon, aquathlon, aquabike, winter triathlon, off-road triathlon and paratriathlon in the United States. Founded in 1982, USA Triathlon sanctions more than 4,300 races and connects with nearly 500,000 members each year, making it the largest multisport organization in the world. In addition to its work with athletes, coaches, and race directors on the grassroots level, USA Triathlon provides leadership and support to elite athletes competing at international events, including International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Championships, Pan American Games and the Olympic and Paralympic Games. USA Triathlon is a proud member of the ITU and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).