With a final burst of speed, Matthew Sharpe won his first St. Anthony’s Triathlon men’s championship, beating out his next closest competitor by one one-hundredth of a second. On the women’s side, Paula Findlay also claimed her first St. Anthony’s Triathlon prize on a bright, hot Sunday morning.
The 39th St. Anthony’s Triathlon featured world champions, Olympians, and professional athletes from across the country, making it one of the most competitive races in event history.
The men’s race had an exciting finish with three men vying for the top of the podium. Sharpe came in at 1:44:14, just one one-hundredth of a second ahead of Matt McElroy, 1:44:15. Ben Kanute, the 2019 men’s champion, finished third at 1:44:19.
“The last quarter mile and (Matt McElroy) came on really hot, and I was like, ‘Okay, here we go – we’ve got the three guys, and these guys are great athletes, so you definitely can’t count anyone out,” said Sharpe of Boulder, CO. “I just remember hitting that corner and just trying to get that inside line as much as I could. And as I went through the last corner, I just hit full gas and I was able to hold off these guys.”
For the women, Findlay held up the finish line tape with a time of 1:55:35, more than a minute ahead of the next competitor. To round out the podium, Amelia Rose Watkins finished in second place (1:56:38), and Amy Sloan came in third (1:57:05).
“The swim was a lot choppier than I expected. I was kind of just in survival mode to get off the water. I couldn’t really see anyone else so I didn’t really know where I was,” said Findlay of Bend, OR. “But I knew my strategy was just to ride hard and that’s my strength. So, I knew I needed a buffer off the bike and I was going to run as fast as some of the girls behind me.”
This was Findlay’s first time at the St. Anthony’s Triathlon and it did not disappoint. “First time I was here and it lives up to the hype,” she said.
In the Sprint Triathlon (Swim 750m, bike 20K, run 5K), the top three women were Mariaangel Lozada, Heather Butcher and Elena Crouch and the top three male finishers were Jhonnatan Daza, John Reback and Joey Obradovich.
In total, more than 2,300 athletes competed in the weekend’s St. Petersburg events including the Meek & Mighty Triathlon on Saturday, and the Olympic and Sprint distance races the following day.
“This year’s St. Anthony’s Triathlon was a tremendous success,” said Patrick McGee, race director for St. Anthony’s Triathlon. “We had an excellent field, exquisite weather, exceptional sponsors and of course, the absolute best fans. After a nearly three-year hiatus because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we wanted to provide a safe and exciting race weekend for everyone. We really did succeed.”
Dates for next year’s 40th St. Anthony’s Triathlon will be announced soon. Registration for the 2023 event will open later this year.