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Making the Podium: ITU World Triathlon Series Trifecta

By Jared Slinde | Sept. 18, 2014, 3:39 p.m. (ET)

Alastair Middlemist, Rob Garren and Greg Williams had little thought to ending the season atop the podium when ITU and USA Triathlon launched the TRIFECTA fantasy game. But that's exactly what happened. Following eight World Triathlon Series races, the trio proved few can predict the sport for both men and women.

Despite having never made proper introductions, the name Alastair Middlemist became all too familiar to Rob Garren by the end of the 2014 ITU World Triathlon Series (WTS). He had watched his name become a staple at the top of the TRIFECTA fantasy game leaderboard.

TRIFECTA was launched prior to the 2014 ITU WTS to engage fans in a fantasy game and give them the chance to predict men’s and women’s podium finishes at all eight WTS events. Results were recorded throughout the year to determine a final podium.

No one did it better than Middlemist (Maidstone, Kent, United Kingdom), Garren (Wood Dale, Ill.) and Greg Williams (London) as the trio finished 1-2-3 in the inaugural TRIFECTA season.

After correctly predicting the women’s podium at the Auckland and Cape Town events to kick off the season, Middlemist built an early lead. It was a lead he would never relinquish.

“I was following the English guy (Middlemist) all year,” Garren joked. “I wanted to catch him, but I couldn’t do it. It was pretty much from the first race on that he had a real nice lead.”

All three competitors epitomized the intentions of the fantasy game in its first season. Each competitor put a great deal of thought into their picks each week as it was no accident the three were on the podium following the World Triathlon Grand Final Edmonton.

“I really enjoyed working out who I thought would win,” Middlemist said. “And the fact I have been top of the table since the first race it has been great watching the races each time and working out what my points would be. It made the races even more exciting.”

Each competitor credited strategy in helping them get to the podium. Strategy ranged from taking into account weather and water conditions to tracking injuries, recent performances and following athlete updates on Twitter.

 However, too much strategy became an issue for Garren during the season. Moments before the start of the ITU World Triathlon Chicago, Garren switched his women’s winner away from American Gwen Jorgensen as he was concerned how she would perform in colder water temperatures. Jorgensen went on to win in Chicago to grab her sixth career WTS victory and eventually claimed the overall WTS title.

“If the water is cold I’m not going to hold that against Gwen again,” Garren said.

The TRIFECTA fantasy game will return for the 2015 ITU WTS season and featured 1,753 players from 85 countries in its first year. Learn more about the TRIFECTA fantasy game HERE and find complete standings from the first season HERE.