Bellingham High School incoming senior Shea Mielke not only won his first triathlon Saturday, June 25, but he became the youngest winner in the 2016 Lake Padden Triathlon history.
The 17-year-old used his 10 years of competitive swimming experience to propel him to an early lead in the water. However, the swimming portion of the race only lasts about 10 minutes so Mielke knew the other racers would be on his tail.
“I was a little bit worried, because I didn’t have as big of a lead as I wanted,” Mielke said.
Mielke led second-place finisher Rusty Dodge by almost three minutes out of the water but Dodge made up time on the bike portion — his strong suit. After an hour on their bikes, Mielke was ahead of Dodge but trailed him in total time by about half a second. Mielke knew he had to pick up his pace entering the race’s final leg.
“He was really fast on the uphills, but on the downhills I was able to relax and let my legs go and then I just tried to run easy and long on the flats,” Mielke said.
Mielke crossed the finish line first with an official time of 1 hour, 40 minutes, 17.1 seconds. Last year’s winner Kyle Carrick finished in 1:38:43.
Mielke has been a member of Bellingham Bay Swim Team since he was 7. BBST saw another member, Mount Vernon’s Emma Carlton, qualify for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials for swimming three weeks ago.
Coming off a torn hamstring last November, Marti Riemer didn’t want to push herself too hard. Luckily, she didn’t have to.
Riemer breezed through the race, finishing first among women racers and ninth out of the 248 who participated in the competitive portion. She crossed the finish line in 1:51:58.1, which was 10 minutes in front of second-place finisher Megan Adams.
“I was just going to run really conservatively and I could only feel a sensation in my leg on the hills,” Riemer said. “That’s why today I told myself not to get hurt and have a clean race.”
Riemer said this was a test to see if she would be able to race this year.
“This was like If you can make it through Padden then you can start building a race schedule,’” Riemer said. “I guess I need to get out a race calendar now.”
Riemer won last year’s Padden Triathlon and has been competing in triathlons for 12 years.
2016 Lake Padden Triathlon Top 10 Results