WOODCOCK TWP. —
Those Meehan boys have certainly made their mark on the Dam Tri.
One year after 17-year-old Dan Meehan broke the Sprint Distance record at the event, the Meehan family of Allison Park returned to Woodcock Lake for the Dam Tri’s sixth annual running on Sunday. And, 19-year-old Mike Meehan, Dan’s brother, went and broke the record in the Olympic Distance.
Meehan’s combined time in the 1,500-meter swim, 40K bike and 10K run was 2:00:52, besting the previous record of 2:02:58 recorded by Pittsburgh’s Chris Nocera in 2012.
“It was fun,” Meehan said. “It was a lot of fun. The course was nice and open, generally flat compared to where I live. Right off of the main street it was kind of windy. And on the main street it was kind of hilly. But it was definitely a good race.”
Meehan broke the record on the new bike course, which many of yesterday’s racers described as even tougher than the former two-lap course used in previous years.
“The new bike course, looking at people’s times from the past, I think it was actually harder,” said race director Kristoph Kocan. “But we got some really positive response to it. They like the one-loop course better. The roads were better. It was still pretty hilly, and I guess they had a pretty hard head-wind. But overall there were no complaints.”
Mike Meehan wasn’t the only member of his family to perform well during yesterday’s triathlon.
Ally Meehan, his 16-year-old sister, was the third overall finisher in the Women’s Sprint Distance, finishing in 1:09:00. And Matt Meehan, Mike’s 50-year-old father, was fourth overall among non-elite Olympic Distance competitors with a time of 2:30:21. Dan Meehan, last year’s sprint distance winner, was dealing with an injury and only did the swimming and biking portion of the Olympic course.
The top woman among the Elite Olympic competitors was 42-year-old professional runner Amy Javens of Hermitage. She finished the course in 2:26:50, which was her best performance in four attempts at the Dam Tri.
“Actually, for a couple years I got lost on this course,” said Javens. “I think I struck it right this year.”
Javens — who was using the Dam Tri as preparation for an upcoming Ironman triathlon — credited her success on Sunday to drawing the No. 13 bib.
“It is a lucky number, that’s what I told myself today,” said Javens.
Kelly Collier, the Elite Women’s second-place finisher, probably could have used a little more luck, judging by the angry looking scrape that covered a good portion of her left shoulder.
“Being dumb,” explained the 25-year-old Pittsburgher. “I thought my brake was rubbing, and I was checking it out. ‘What’s going on here?’”
She leaned out around her handlebars to look and, “I just skidded. It was super easy. I didn’t get banged up. Just a little road rash.”
She still managed to post a superb time, completing the course in 2:30.21.
“I was fourth overall last year, and I dropped about five minutes off of my time,” said Collier. “So it was a big improvement. But this is a tough race, man. It’s a tough course.
“But the reason I came was for the beaver,” she added, holding up her trophy that, as is tradition, featured a small stuffed beaver.
The second place men’s Elite runner, 27-year-old Nick Glavac of Mentor, Ohio, also dealt with some technical difficulties during the bike portion.
“It was very tough,” he said. “It was warm and it was really humid. Normally I like humid conditions. But I was sweating so much today. I ran out of water on my bike at the 15-mile mark. So, the last 10 miles I was hurting a little bit.”
And then ...
“I was shifting so much I lost my chain. So I had to get off my bike and put it back on. Not that it mattered in the results, but I lost a little time there.”
Even so, Glavac crossed the finish line in a still-outstanding time of 2:09:32.
“I’m happy,” he said. “It came down to the run and the positions didn’t change too much. That guy in the lead (Mike Meehan) just smoked it. I got second. I’m happy with it.”
Third place in the Men’s Elite went to 23-year-old Edinboro University student Dustin Thomas of Broadview Heights, Ohio. There’s another sibling connection with him. His sister, Desiree Thomas, was the winner of the Elite Olympic Distance race last year.
Dustin competed in the Sprint Distance last year. Yesterday was his first attempt at an Olympic Distance course.
And how did it feel?
“It was tough, that’s for sure,” he said. “The bike course is hilly as all get-out. And that’s probably my weakest event, too.”
Yet, Thomas still managed to produce a third-place time of 2:10:21.
“Yeah, I was shooting for 2:10 today and I went 2:10, so I was pretty happy. I’m definitely glad I did it.”
The third-place woman in the Elite Olympic class was Erie native Nancy Herbst, who has now competed in all six Dam Tri events. Her time was 2:42:59.
She’d placed in the top three many times before, and was glad to add another beaver trophy to her collection.
“I was second a couple times and I think I got third once,” she said. “The last couple years I wasn’t in the top three. It just happened that not a lot of other (Elite Women) ran today, so I’ll take it.”
Even at 55, Herbst said she’s still got a lot of racing ahead of her.
“I love the sport,” she said. “I told my husband a couple weeks ago when I came home from a race, ‘You know, I truly love this sport still and I enjoy it.’ That’s why I continue to do it.”
The top non-elite Olympic finisher was 39-year-old Andrew Paris, who completed the race in 2:27:56. The top female Olympic runner was 52-year-old Joan Baxter in 2:43:43.
The top male in the Sprint Distance race (1/4-mile swim, 11.3-mile bike, 5K run) was 60-year-old Philip Friedman in 1:03:09. The top female was 41-year-old Pamela McCormick in 1:06:00.
Overall, more than 250 people competed in yesterday’s event.
“We had a good turnout,” said Kocan. “We had a lot of repeat visitors, which is always good. And a fair share of new people.
“The one thing we did notice in the weeks leading up to this was the dozens of people that were out here practicing and training and using the area. I think the local hotels, a lot of them were full. Some of the people were staying up at Allegheny College. So, really, it’s not just people coming here and racing. They’re using the whole area. A lot of people that come here and have never done it before, they can’t believe how beautiful the course is. It actually gives a lot of exposure to the region.”