Nearly 2,000 amateur and professional athletes endured high winds and a modified course due to the cancellation of the swim, to compete in the 37th Annual Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon. Rio Olympian Ben Kanute and Lauren Goss from Boulder, Colorado took first place honors in the men and women’s pro division. To ensure the safety of the athletes, city and race officials cancelled the 1.5-mile swim portion of the triathlon because of unsafe water conditions created by high winds. The modified race course included the 18-mile bike ride and an eight-mile run through San Francisco.
“I felt great coming into today’s race,” said 2017 Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon Winner Ben Kanute. “When I first heard the swim was cancelled I was disappointed but then I realized I was here to race and win, no matter what the course and all legs of this course are extremely challenging. The strong winds today made both the bike and run legs even more challenging. To race alongside some of the legends of the sport in this quality field was a huge honor, making this the biggest win of my career to date.”
The modified race format started similar to a time trial bike start, with 30 seconds between each professional athlete. Age group racers were released in groups of six, at 10-second intervals. Kanute, fresh off a 29th place finish in the Rio Olympics, had to hold off last year’s second place finisher Cameron Dye and fellow Rio-Olympian Greg Billington to secure his win. Dye was in the lead at the start until Kanute caught him halfway through the bike leg then held on to the lead to the finish. Billington made up some time as well to place second, just eight seconds behind Kanute.
University of California Berkeley took first place in the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon Collegiate Challenge presented by Muscle Milk with a finishing time of 1:54:27. Racers representing more than 50 countries, up to 87-years-old and a number of physically challenged athletes from Challenged Athletes Foundation participated in the triathlon.
“I was disappointed the swim was cancelled, so I knew I had to give it my all on the bike leg; it was the only way to win- and it worked,” said 2017 Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon Champion Lauren Goss. “I’m shocked, to win today is the biggest win of my career.”
- Ben Kanute, Tucson, AZ, 1:30:09
- Gregory Billington, Poway, CA 1:31:17
- Cameron Dye, Boulder, CO 1:31:58
- Lauren Goss, Boulder,CO 1:42:06
- Katie Zaferes, Watsonville, CA, 1:43:10
- Holly Lawrence, Los Angeles, CA 1:43:36