WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB
May 1, 2011
The selfless act of Rich Nixon going to the aid of a fallen pro woman triathlete in Sunday’s 70.3 St. Croix Half Ironman in the U.S. Virgin Islands may have cost him.
Nixon, 47, of Coconut Creek, trains at the Coral Springs Aquatic Complex. His daughter Morgan is a member of the South Florida Aquatic Club swim team.
Nixon was in contention with three other riders during the bike leg for one of the two available Hawaii Ironman slots in his age group.
The top four age group riders were within a minute of each other when Nixon pulled up on the course to help a pro woman triathlete who crashed during the bike leg and was unable to return to the race.
“I would rather be a good human being than win a race,” Nixon said. “You still have to be a human being and gentleman. I can’t swerve by somebody like they are road kill.
“I helped her to side of the road,” Nixon said. “She went down hard. She didn’t hit her head but she was full of road rash. I would do that over and over again and not get a slot to Kona.”
Nixon finished fourth in his age group (45-49) and 36th overall among a field of more than 500 in 4 hours, 55 minutes and 51 seconds. He had moved from ninth in his age group after his 32:25 1.2-mile split to fifth after his 3:17:38 56-mile bike split.
Nixon lost about two minutes and maybe even two places by stopping. He may have been able to make it up on the run but encountered stomach problems early in the run.
“The real issue I had was nutritional,” Nixon said. “The first six miles of the run I hadn’t digested what I ate and I felt nine months pregnant. I may have eaten too much for breakfast or took in too many calories during the bike. It was all sitting in my stomach and I was absolutely miserable. I drank nothing but water. I finally found my mojo the last six miles but it was too late.”
By midway through the run, Nixon knew his shot at a Kona slot was gone.
“Mentally, it was absolutely good because at that point it would have been easy to quit,” Nixon said. “I just thought suck it up Buttercup and go as hard as you can. It was good learning to deal with adversity.”
It was Nixon’s first race in St. Croix and proved more challenging than he expected.
“This is a big boy race, it is tough,” Nixon said. “There is not a flat part to the race. The only flat part was the swim and that wasn’t that flat, it was choppy, too.
“They talk about ‘the beast’ and how grueling it is to get up that hill and it is, that is no joke. It is just hill after hill after hill and we had pretty relentless winds as well.”
Nixon will make another attempt to qualify for Hawaii at the June 12 Subaru Ironman 70.3 Eagleman in Oxford, Maryland.
In the St. Croix men’s pro race only sixteen seconds separated first and second place. Ukrainian Maksym Kriat, who lives and trains in Clermont, won the men’s race in 4:11:43 and Aussie Luke Bell was second in 4:11.59.
Great Britain’s Catriona Morrison, coming off her Ironman 70.3 Texas win, won the women’s race in 4:29:28, more than a 4-minute margin of victory.
Tampa Triathlete Comes To The Rescue
Tampa nurse Teresa McCoy, who was competing in Saturday’s St. Anthony’s Meek and Mighty Triathlon in St. Petersburg, saved the life of a fellow triathlete during the race.
McCoy stopped during her race to help a man who had collapsed on the course. She recognized the man, whose family asked that he not be identified. She had talked with him briefly before the race.
McCoy checked for a pulse and couldn’t feel one. The police thought he may have had a seizure. McCoy started CPR and asked for a defribillator. The man came to as soon as they used the defribillator. Paramedics rushed him to the local hospital where he is being treated.
McCoy returned to the race and finished in 50:37. Her splits were 5:10, 31:09 and 9:59. Later she told local reporters that “God put her where she was supposed to be Saturday.”
Ospaly, Haskins Wins St. Anthony’s Triathlon
2008 Olympian Filip Ospaly won the men’s title and Sarah Haskins won the women’s title Sunday in the 28th annual St. Anthony’s Triathlon in St. Petersburg.
Ospaly, 35, of the Czech Republic, won in 1:41:22, just 14 seconds ahead of two-time St. Anthony’s champion Matt Reed in 1:41:36 and 19 seconds ahead of defending champion Cameron Dye in 1:41:41.
“This is a big win for me,” said Ospaly, who was second in last year’s 70.3 Clearwater event. His 10K run split was 30:54. “I knew my finish was strong.”
U.S. Olympian Haskins, 30, the defending women’s champion, had a little more breathing room winning in 1:52:28 ahead of Liz Blatchford (1:53:07) and Sarah Groff (1:53:34).
The course was a 1.5K swim, 40K bike and 10K run. The swim leg had to be re-located and shortened by 500 meters because of high winds.
Jacobs Wins First Ironman Title
Pete Jacobs, who ran a 2:53:37 final marathon leg, won Ironman Australia Sunday in 8 hours and 29 minutes to take home his first title.
Jacobs had a 46:29 split for the 2.4-mile swim, nearly a 3-minute lead. He finished the 112-mile bike leg in 4:41:04.
Defending champion Peter Vernay, going after his fifth title, was second in 8:35:14.
Caroline Steffen of New South Wales won the women’s title in 9:29:54. She was second after her swim split of 50:35. She took the lead early in the bike and despite two flats completed her split in 5:12:39. Her run split was 3:22:10.
About 1,100 athletes competed in the New South Wales event.
Sharon Robb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org