KNOXVILLE, TN – Grim Reaper Fitness’ travels to the inaugural Challenge Family event in the United States was highlighted by 5 members completing their first Olympic distance race, including two top-3 finishes, at Challenge Knoxville.
Bev Smith, Wendy Smith, Kris Hohulin, Stephanie Heppe, and Celeste Kudrys all competed and finished an Olympic-distance race for the first time.
“I finished!” said Bev Smith, who was concerned weeks in advance regarding the 4-hour, 15-minute cut-off time, but finished in 3:46:13 to place 3rd in the women’s 55-59 Age Group. “I cried with joy at the finish. Thanks to my friends and coaches for their support, help getting me ready, and the awesome words of congratulations at the finish line.”
Challenge Family merged with Rev3 at the end of 2014. Challenge Knoxville was the first race under the Challenge Family banner and proved to be a tough day for racers. Rain throughout the morning made the hilly bike course treacherous, as riders dealt with multiple crashes, while the run was wet and humid.
“Super soggy race conditions,” said Heppe, who finished in 3:52:25. “I finished under the time I wanted and am very, very happy.”
Kudrys posted the best time for the Reaper women coming in at 2:46:21 and finished 2nd in the women’s 35-39 Age Group, while Wendy Smith finished at 3:06:07. Olympic-distance veteran Rhonda Heinz had to overcome a flat tire, which she repaired in the rain, to post a 3:43:21. Meanwhile, Kris Hohulin completed her longest race, knocking out the Olympic AquaBike in 2:02:18.
“I overcame a few tears at the finish because I did a distance that I never thought I would do,” she said. “I’ve come so far with the support of this team.”
On the men’s side, Erik Rankin brought home hardware with a 3rd-place finish in the Olympic AquaBike with a time oft 1:45:02. In the Olympic triathlon, Tim Auth and David Cate competed in the Clydesdale division with Auth capturing 3rd place at 2:42:42, and Cate finishing at 3:16:25.
Other Reaper racers…
In other weekend races, Erin Rahn completed her 19th half marathon, covering 12 states at the Michigan Shores Mini. Matt Cuttell went to the Bonkers Triathlon in Bloomington, IN, put on by GRF sponsor Racemaker Productions, and finished 3rd overall in the sprint race.
“The hills were brutal…even more than the Knoxville course,” he said. “The run, too, but a great race at a cool location.”