Tom Bradley and Marti Riemer know how turn a recent injury into a thing of the past.
Bradley, a standout distance runner at Blaine High School, and Riemer, who's established herself as a force in the Whatcom County running community with numerous top finishes in local events, both sustained stress fracture injuries within the last eight months.
Bradley suffered a stress fracture to his left shin toward the end of spring track and field season, and Riemer discovered she had four stress fractures in her tibia last December.
How did Bradley and Riemer fare at the 2012 Lake Padden Duathlon - one of their first races back from injury? The duo claimed first place in their respective divisions, and did so in dominating fashion.
Bradley navigated on foot one 2.6-mile loop around Lake Padden, biked the duathlon's 14.5-mile route around Lake Samish and back to Lake Padden and ran the second 2.6-mile loop in a time of 1 hour, 14 minutes, 20.4 seconds. Tyler Mitchell placed second with a time of 1:17:18.3, Ian Bonner finished third with a 1:18:23.0, Rob Lang took fourth with 1:19:37.9 and John Diefel rounded out the Men's Division top five with a 1:20:21.2 Saturday morning, July 21, at Lake Padden Park.
"It's always fun to win," Bradley said. "This is a great event. I took second last year, so it feels great to get the win."
Nearly three minutes passed before Bradley saw Mitchell cross the finish line, but Riemer had to wait almost 10 minutes before the second-place female finished.
Riemer's first-place time of 1:20:48.0 placed her seventh overall. Lana Allen finished second with a time of 1:30:37.1, Marie Beaver took third with a 1:30:49.7, Stephanie Dawson placed fourth with a 1:31:48.6 and Alisson Bonner rounded out the Women's Division top five with her 1:34:23.0.
"I've been riding, but this is my first race running," Riemer said. "It felt really good. I had a good race."
Bradley wasn't thinking about his injury while he ran. He was more worried about the competition behind him.
"Last year I got passed pretty early," Bradley said. "I knew if I was first coming out of the bike transition, or almost first, I would have a good chance to win."
The Lake Padden Duathlon was Bradley's second running event since injuring his shin. The Blaine runner finished fourth at the 45th Annual Chuckanut Footrace Saturday, July 7.
"It's amazing these guys who are older are able to keep up," said Bradley, when asked his thoughts on being 17 and winning an event predominantly filled with older males. "It's amazing to see that that was a 40-year-old who was chasing me down. I can only hope to be able to do that in the future."
Bradley wasn't only putting his injured leg to the test Saturday. He took his new bike out for a spin, too.
"I got a new bike since I got my stress fracture," said Bradley, pointing to his black bike, lying on the ground next to him. "I'm not the kind of person to not do anything (during an injury)."
His first win served as a confidence boost heading into the cross country season. Bradley placed 47th during the 2011 Class 2A Cross Country State Meet. He said he's aiming for a top 15 finish this fall.
Riemer, like Bradley, gained comfort from performing so well given her recent injury. Unlike Bradley, though, she is no rookie when it comes to winning Lake Padden Duathlons.
"I don't remember," said Riemer, when asked how many times she's won the duathlon. "I think five or six."
Riemer's estimate was a bit modest.
According to race results listed on cob.org, Saturday's win marks the seventh time Reimer has won the Lake Padden Duathlon. She's won every year dating back to 2005 with the exception of 2009.
Although Riemer has collected so many duathlon titles, she said this year's win feels the best.
"This is definitely the sweetest one," she said. "I didn't know how competitive I'd be. I just wanted to give it my best. I felt like I was a bit conservative."
The duathlon's format - part bike, part run - presented competitors the unique choice to complete the race in a relay format.
Robert Durrant and his son, 12-year-old Evan Durrant, took advantage of the relay option.
"Last year he ran and I biked," Robert said. "This year we swapped. I ran and he biked."
Robert and Evan finished in an impressive time of 1:33:47.3, and Evan decided which leg he'll most likely compete in next year.
"I enjoyed the bike," Evan said. "I just like biking better."
A total of 150 competitors turned out for the Lake Padden Duathlon. Anyone interested in volunteering at future races should contact Bellingham Parks and Recreation.
Reach Andrew Lang at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 360-756-2862.
LAKE PADDEN DUATHLON RESULTS
Top 10 Men
1. Tom Bradley 1:14:20.4
2. Tyler Mitchell 1:17:18.3
3. Ian Bonner 1:18:23.0
4. Rob Lang 1:19:37.9
5. John Diefel 1:20:21.2
6. Tommy Lingbloom 1:20:38.8
7. Joel Sellinger 1:20:49.3
8. Tom Barichello 1:20:53.4
9. Lee George 1:21:26.8
10. Ryan Roy 1:21:30.2
Top 10 Women
1. Marti Riemer 1:20:48.0
2. Lana Allen 1:30:37.1
3. Marie Beaver 1:30:49.7
4. Stephanie Dawson 1:31:48.6
5. Alisson Bonner 1:34:23.0
6. Carol Beebe 1:35:04.2
7. Brinn Hovde 1:35:36.4
8. Alyson Indrunas 1:37:03.0
9. Lynn Strange 1:38:01.9
10. Shannon Flory 1:38:05.8
Reach ANDREW LANG at email@example.com or call ext. 862.