LOUISVILLE – Six members of Grim Reaper Fitness, competing in front of a raucous group of club spectators, completed their first Ironman distance race Sunday.
Bryan Heppe, running his first Ironman, was the highest finisher, placing 145th among men in the field of 2,573 athletes and 35th in the 35-39 Age Group. Heppe got out to a strong start with a 1:01:04 in the 2.4-mile swim, but was overtaken on the 112-mile bike leg by teammate Jason Huber. Heppe, however, caught Huber in the latter stages of the 26-mile run to finish at 10:47:30. Huber, meanwhile, posted the Reapers’ best bike leg of the day with a 20.73 mph average to complete his second Ironman in 10:52:44, a 38-minute improvement on his first, while placing 41st in 35-39.
Kelly Ruiter had an outstanding debut Ironman, finishing 23rd in the 30-34 women’s Age Group to come in at 12:19:27. She kept creeping up as she finished the swim in 36th, came off the bike in 30th before posting a solid 10:15 pace on the run.
David Quinn, fighting a lower leg injury all year, had the best single-leg performance of the day for GRF. Quinn, competing in his 8th Ironman, completed the swim in 1:00:27, good for 4th in the 50-54 Age Group, before effects of the injury slowed him on the run.
Rick Vincent, Mark Mikel, and Paul Swanlund all completed their first Ironman race, as well. Vincent came in at 12:23:53, highlighted be a solid 10:11 pace on the run. Mikel used an 18.24 pace on the bike leg to finish at 13:08.19. Swanlund was strongest in the swim, coming in at 1:09:21 en route to a 13:57:31.
Lisa Kiley was the final Reaper finisher, breaking the tape at 15:41:05 to a big reception from her Reaper teammates. Kiley best event was the swim as she came in at 1:19:33.
The race will likely crown the USAT Mideast Regional Club Series Division II champion, as well. GRF held a narrow lead over Indiana-based Tri Loco heading into the event.