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First-timer wins Columbia Triathlon

Cameron Dye, of Boulder, Colorado, came out of Centennial Lake in third place after completing the 1.5k swim, and took control of Sunday's 29th annual Columbia Triathlon on the 41k bike portion of the event.

Dye, 28, then ran away from Andrew Yoder, the two-time defending champion, on the 10k run, destroying Yoder's 2011 course record with a time of one hour, 49 minutes and 41 seconds.

Dye, who attended the University of Iowa on a swimming scholarship, took the title and the course record in his first Columbia race.

"The course was great," he said. "It was awesome and it was probably the hardest course that I've ever done."

Previously, Dye, a professional triathlete, had won the 2011 Nautica Miami Triathlon.

The women's race turned into a battle between Australia'sAnnabel Luxford; Leander Caves, of Tucson, Arizona; former champion Laurel Wassner, of New York, and Margaret Shapiro, of Herndon, Va.

Luxford took command early and won in the time of 2:06:18. Caves finished second a full one minute behind.

Luxford, took a nasty spill during the run around the lake. "It was really nothing," she said. "I just took a corner a bit too tight."

Luxford suffered a bloody elbow and knee and needed medical attention after the race.

At the 2004 ITU Madeira World Championships, she finished first in the U-23 division and in 2005 she finished first in the ITU World Cup rankings.

Dye and Luxford earned each the $6,000 for their first-place finishes. There was $30,000 in prize money at this year's triathlon.

Local favorite Suzie Serpico, in her first race as a professional, finished 10th among the female triathletes.

"I was pleased. Now I know where I stack up with the big fish," she said.

The race drew 2,300 endurance athletes ranging in age from 14-71. There were 40 professional triathletes in the field.

The Columbia Triathlon is considered one of the most challenging and longest running triathlons in the nation.

This year it was named as a 2012 5150 qualifying event. The top 15 in each age group are invited to race at the 5150 Hy-Vee U.S. Championship in Des Moines, Iowa in September. The top five in each age group receive omplimentary entries to the Hy-Vee Championship.

One poignant moment during the race was the participation of 19-year-old Shane Lauer of Phoenix, Md. A disabled athlete, Lauer is confined to a wheelchair with Duchene's muscular dystrophy. Over the last four years, Lauer has competed in numerous multisport events, including three full marathons, two sprint triathlons and three half Ironman triathlons. With the assistance of volunteers from the non-profit Athletes Serving Athletes, Lauer completed his first Olympic distance triathlon on Sunday at Columbia.

Complete race results can be found at tricolumbia.org.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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