It was an all-Canadian affair at the top of the podium at the prestigious St. Anthony’s Triathlon in Florida yesterday as Tokyo Olympian Matt Sharpe sprinted to the men’s title, while London Olympian Paula Findlay took the women’s title.
The St. Anthony’s event is one of the longest-running events in North America. In winning the 39th edition Sharpe and Findlay add their names to some of the biggest in the sport including Mike Pigg, Greg Welch and Jan Frodeno on the men’s side and Michellie Jones and Karen Smyers for the women. Former Canadian champions include Simon Whitfield (2001), Carol Montgomery (2001) and Alicia Kaye (although she had become an American citizen), who won the event twice in 2013 and 2015.
The men’s race featured a three-way sprint to the line as Sharpe found himself running with American’s Matt McElroy and Ben Kanute, the defending champion. Sharpe would take the win in 1:44:14, 1/100th of a second ahead of McElroy (1:44:15). Kanute crossed the line in 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,” Sharpe said. “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.”
Canadian Jackson Laundry took seventh in the men’s pro race in 1:46:25.
Findlay took the win in 1:55:35 after dominating the way on the bike. New Zealand’s Amelia Rose Watkins took second in 1:56:38 with American Amy Sloan rounding out the podium in 1:57:05.
“The swim was a lot choppier than I expected,” Findlay said after the race. “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. 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.”
Canadian Kristen Marchant took 12th in the women’s race in 2:03:49.