A slow weekend of road racing gives way to triathlon for top billing in this edition of the WEEKEND UPDATE of the best performances by Iowa-based collegiate and postcollegiate distance runners and triathletes.
Two former Iowa City residents captured runner-up honors in the closely contested Ironman 70.3 Boulder on Saturday in Colorado. Lesley Smith, a native of Iowa City, returned to racing and captured second in her new hometown race after finishing the 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike and 13.1-mile run in 4 hours, 16 minutes, 13 seconds. Smith excelled on the run with the best run among the professional ladies of 1:25:45, but the gap to fellow American Rach McBride was too much to overcome after McBride covered the bike leg in 2:11:36, 6:26 ahead of Smith. McBride's run of 1:29:15 was enough to give her a win 4:12:53, 3:20 ahead of Smith. Smith surged past Hannah Wells on the run to top the New Zealander by 3:17.
Justin Metzler moved up two spots from his last race just two weeks ago to finish on the podium. The former University of Iowa student and TriHawks triathlon club member couldn't quite run down Canada's Matthew Sharpe on the run, who prevailed by 52 seconds after finishing in 3:49:56.
Metzler was in a group of four, with Sharpe and fellow Americans Ben Hoffman and Marty Andrie after about 10 miles of the bike. Two different Americans, Tripp Hipple and Kennett Peterson, zipped past during the bike leg. Hipple's race was hindered by a five-minute drafting penalty and he eventually dropped all the way to 19th at the end. Peterson owned the best bike split of 1:59:38, but he ran only a 1:22:47 half marathon, enabling five men to pass him by the finish.
Sharpe showed he was the sharpest on the run, taking the run by the halfway mark of the 13.1-mile distance and fighting off any challenges from Metzler, Hoffman and Andrie. His 1:17:11 half marathon was the best of the day and 1:33 ahead of Metzler. Metzler's 1:18:44 tied Trevor Foley's for second-best on the day.
Grit!!!! at 70.3 Boulder today," Metzler wrote on Instagram. "The result is a little better but the feeling remains the same: triathlon is hard. But that’s why we love it!!!"
Metzler was competing for the third time in Ironman and Ironman 70.3 races since July 10, a grueling stretch for even a standout professional triathlete. Metzler won his first Ironman-badged victory at Ironman 70.3 Salem on July 10 and followed that with a fourth-place effort at Ironman Lake Placid two weeks ago. Metzler owned a 4:30 lead in that race before possible dehydration slowed him over the final 10K of the run.
Moving now to track and field, where former Iowa State All-American Festus Lagat finished runner-up in the Sir Walter Miler race before an enthusiastic crowd in Raleigh, N.C., on Friday night. Lagat, an Under Armour Mission Run Baltimore athlete, ran 3:54.02. Former Notre Dame NCAA champion Yared Nuguse set a new record of 3:53.34 and picked up a $5,000 bonus.
At the Diamond League track and field event in Chorzów, Poland, on Saturday, former Iowa All-American Erik Sowinski finished ninth and was the third-best American in a strong 800-meter field. The Iowa City resident ran 1:47.30. Emmanuel Kipkurui Korir of Kenya was the winner in 1:45.72.
To the roads now. The TD Beach to Beacon 10K Road Race returned to Cape Elizabeth, Maine, for the first time since 2019 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Former Sioux City North and Iowa Central Community College star Biya Simbassa picked up a nice $8,000 check after finishing third in the men's professional 10K race in 29:01. Of that amount, $5,000 was a bonus for landing as the top American.
Simbassa, the reigning USA Running Circuit champion and Under Armour Dark Sky athlete now based in Flagstaff, Ariz., couldn't become the second American to take the victory in 24 editions. That honor went to Kenya's Mathew Kimeli, 24, who coasted to a 19-second victory in the warm race over Athanas Kioko. Simbassa, 29, was another four seconds behind Kioko, 27. More than 5,000 runners took part in the race, hosted by 1984 Olympic marathon gold medalist Joan Benoit Samuelson.
Husband and wife Kevin Lewis and Carrie Lewis swept the race wins at the Tacos & Margaritas 5K on Friday in Richfield, Minn. Lewis, the former Ottumwa High and Iowa standout who now runs for the Minnesota Distance Elite, averaged 4:54 per mile to take the victory in 15:13. He was 52 seconds ahead of Daniel Docherty.
Isaiah Hammerand, a senior-to-be at Western Dubuque, won the two-mile title at the Town & Country races in Epworth. Hammerand ran 10:13 to win by 1:13. In the 8K race, recent Western Dubuque graduate Eli Naumann cruised to the victory in 26:38, a gap of more than three minutes over the runner-up male.
Zach Sporaa, a senior-to-be at North Polk this fall, took the 5K victory at the Pufferbilly 5K in Boone on Saturday. Sporaa ran 16:17 on a hot and humid morning to top his brother, fellow senior Max, by 32 seconds.
Professional triathlete Jess Smith, 40, of Clive took the overall win of the Battle of the 'Burbs 10K on Saturday morning in West Des Moines. Smith ran 40:30 to win by 1:09. The 5K winner was Michael Johnson, 26, in 16:30.
GOING BACK: Former Drake University All-American Adam Fogg finished third in the CAS Meeting in Luxembourg on July 31. Fogg, who runs for England for the Under Armour Mission Run Baltimore team, ran 3:38.23 in the 1,500 meters. Charles Grethen of Luxembourg set a new meeting record of 3:36.94. Fogg had run a personal-best 3:37.96 in the 1,500 meters at the TSV Pfungstadt meet in Pfungstadt, Germany, on July 26.
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This article originally appeared on Des Moines Register: Mile posts: Items on Lesley Smith, Justin Metzler, Festus Lagat, Biya Simbassa, Kevin Lewis