Updated: Jun 25, 2023 01:29 PM
Dominant display: Nick Pilgrim led from start to finish to seal victory in the Liberty Mutual National Sprint Triathlon Championship
Nick Pilgrim and Ashley Couper reigned supreme to clinch Liberty Mutual National Sprint Triathlon Championship titles on Sunday.
Leading from start to finish, 20-year-old Pilgrim completed the sprint distance race, which consisted of a 750-metre swim, 20-kilometre run and 5k run, in an impressive time of 57min 51sec, crossing the line more than three minutes clear of the rest of the field.
Jackson Langley, 15, was the second male over the line in 1hr 2min 27sec, with experienced competitor Phillip Mace completing the podium places when taking third place in 1:03:22.
For Pilgrim, the triumph was ideal preparation ahead of flying out to El Salvador to represent Bermuda at the at the Central American and Caribbean Games.
“I had a good swim and then felt good on the bike and run, so overall I was just really happy,” said Pilgrim, who was also delighted to regain bragging rights over his brother Alex, who took the title last year.
“My brother won this race last year, so it’s nice to be able to take the title off him for a year at least. He was boasting a lot last year and so its good to have the bragging rights again.
“I’ve had a really good block of training ahead of going off to the CAC Games, which will be Olympic distance, and so this was a good warm up for that.
“I will be one of the younger athletes among the field and so for me it will just be great experience to compete at the Games and see what I can do.
“It’s also special to represent Bermuda at an international event, it’s such a great feeling and I just love it.”
The battle among the female competitors proved a far tougher tussle with Maddie Durkin leading out of the water and after the bike discipline, only for Couper to catch her on the run to take the title in a winning time of 1:08:12, which was good enough for seventh overall.
Durkin had to settle for second, finishing 19 seconds adrift, in 1:08:31, for eighth overall, with Karen Smith completing the top three and sealing a top-ten finish overall in 1:09:55.
While delighted to claim a national title, a magnanimous Couper conceded that Durkin not being up to full race fitness proved pivotal in deciding the outcome of the race.
“I had a really terrible race last year and so I was determined to make up for it this time around and have a good day,” said Couper.
“Maddie has had a rough couple of weeks with a virus and so I’m well aware she is not in her best form. The fact she came out and did the race was pretty impressive. if she was at her normal form, she would have owned this race, I have no doubt about that.
“I don’t think I’ve held any kind of Bermuda title for some time and so it’s nice to know this one is mine for the year.
“It was great to see how well attended the event was and also the amount of people who came out to support us all, it was just a great event.”
There was also joy for Jacob Wright, who took victory in the junior 11-15 category, crossing the line in winning time of 42:21, slightly more than 30 seconds clear of Braxton Cooze in 42:58. Noah Maranzana completed the podium places in 43:18.
Kelise Wade took the honours in the corresponding female category, taking the title in 50:44, which was good enough for seventh overall. Ella Shepherd was the second female over the line in 51:57, for ninth overall.
Adding to his individual title, Nick Pilgrim also claimed the top prize in the Senior team category, alongside brother Alex and Ifor Hughes, with their team Two P’s and a plod finishing first in a combined time of 1:05:21.
The team of All Gas, No Brakes, made up of Daniel Woods, Chequan Richardson and Gregory Rose were second in 1:08:32, with Josephine Duerden, Tracy Wright and Jonah Trott, of Social Katz, rounding out the top three places in 1:08:57.
The event also included a Middle School Team Challenge, with the trio of Connor Hupman, Dylan Eiselt and Saezjhor Dent, representing Saltus Middle Knights taking the title in a time of 30:12.
The Warwick Academy team, made up of Violet Smith, Zachary Moniz and Cameron Adkins, sealed second place, finishing 20 seconds adrift, with Isabella Jones, Andrew Thomas and Aria Mosquera, of Saltus Middle Plus One completing the podium in 33:25.