Australia’s Leon Griffin and Kate Bevilaqua racing Challenge Rancho Cordova

leon griffin

Challenge Rancho Cordova draws strong field

30 SEPTEMBER 2014 – In keeping with Challenge Family’s tradition of presenting spectacular events in iconic destinations, on 5 October the inaugural Challenge Rancho Cordova will take place just on the outskirts of California’s state capital of Sacramento.

Challenge Rancho Cordova half distance provides a 1.2 mile swim course that will take place at the Nimbus Dam and is fed by the American River with headwaters high in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. This is one of the cleanest bodies of water available for any triathlon swim in California and is calm and flat in all weather conditions. The single loop point to point 56 mile bike course offers glimpses of the Sierra Nevada Mountains while traversing farmland, vineyards, wooded hills, and the historic Mather Field air force base. The course has an overall elevation gain of 1200 feet. The 13.1 mile flat run course on city streets and trails starts and finishes in downtown Rancho Cordova. 

Located 12 miles east of the California’s state capitol, Sacramento, Rancho Cordova and surrounding communities are rich in the history of California’s Gold Rush including the first 12 miles of railroad in California. In more modern times the City hosted a thriving military base and now is home to large aerospace, technology, healthcare and other corporations.

Challenge Family’s reputation for creating memorable race experiences has drawn one of the deepest Professional fields being hosted on U.S. soil in all of 2014. On the start list we have Ironman winners as well as short course specialists. The race promises to be exciting and unpredictable with several athletes in both the men’s and women’s races coming from collegiate swimming backgrounds as well as people that are famous for being able to run down the best in the sport! It will be a dynamic battle from start to finish and will no doubt be an exciting rice to follow!

The women’s field boasts several athletes with strong international results. Jillian Petersen made the shift to longer events recently after many successes on the ITU circuit and has already added great success with a 3rd at Challenge New Albany. Charisa Wernick is on a roll with a stellar season including a 2nd at Challenge St. Andrews and top ten at Challenge Walchsee and Challenge Full Weymouth. Emma-Kate Lidbury has placed top ten twice at 70.3 World championships. Kate Bevilaqua finished 3rd at the inaugural Challenge Taiwan and has numerous victories and podiums at the Half and Full distance. Other standouts in the field are Emily Cocks, Lauren Brandon, Jennifer Luebke and Jessica Smith.

On the men’s side the field has grown to include some of the best in the world and a slew of contenders with the strength to step onto the podium at aa big event on the right day. Jesse Thomas is one of the best runners in the sport and with four consecutive wins at Wildflower Long Course clearly has the strength to face any competitor in the world. Todd Skipworth, Guy Crawford and Leon Griffin all have a handful of podiums from across the globe at the half and full distances. Joe Umphenour is another athlete with a long history of success on the ITU circuit and longtime member of the USAT National Team. There are also a number of athletes in the field who have the talent to break onto the podium including Matt Lieto, Andrew Bauer, Grant Burkwash, Jesse Vondracek and Pedro Gomez.

With a pro field of over fifty professional athletes, there are many others who will be in the mix on race day promising an exciting race. The  press conference that will be live-streamed on Facebook on Saturday October 4th with a panel of top contenders live updates will be provided throughout race day at



The Challenge Family series of triathlons features 40 full and half distance races around the world, including the world’s largest long distance triathlon – Challenge Roth in Germany. The birthplace of the Challenge Family, Challenge Roth now features over 5,500 athletes and 220,000 spectators and home to both world records held by Andreas Raelert (GER) and Chrissie Wellington (GBR). Since 2002, races throughout Europe, UK, Australasia, Asia, North America and South America have joined Roth. Together they provide athletes with a new experience of long distance racing with a strong focus on athlete and spectator experience, giving back to the community while respecting the legacy of sport and being committed to its continued growth. For further information on Challenge Family visit


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