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photo: Nils Nilsen/XTERRA
USA Triathlon Awards First-Ever Off-Road Triathletes of the Year
Athlete recognition marks growth of off-road triathlon discipline
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — USA Triathlon today announced the 2013 Off-Road Triathletes of the Year, honoring athletes for outstanding performances on challenging courses featuring an open water swim, mountain bike and a trail run.
The off-road triathlon discipline continues to gain popularity, with the International Triathlon Union officially recognizing the format as a world championship event in 2011. The Off-Road Athletes of the Year honor is presented by Garmin, and winners were selected by USA Triathlon’s Age Group Committee.
"Off-road triathlon is one of our fastest-growing areas of multisport. As you might imagine, it attracts some highly competitive athletes,” said Steve Sutherland, chair of the USA Triathlon Age Group Committee Athlete of the Year Subcommittee. “We are very pleased to honor the best of those competitors as our Off-Road Triathletes of the Year."
Amateur athletes Matthew Balzer (Reno, Nev.) and Hannah Rae Finchamp (Altadena, Calif.) earned Off-Road Triathlete of the Year accolades. Balzer was the first amateur finisher at the XTERRA USA Championships, and he was the top American in the 30-34 age group at the XTERRA World Championships, finishing as the third American amateur overall. Finchamp, who competed in the 15-19 age group in 2013, was the first amateur woman to cross the line at the XTERRA West Championship and XTERRA Worlds.
Josiah Middaugh (Vail, Colo.) and Emma Garrard (Park City, Utah) were named Elite Off-Road Triathletes of the Year for 2013. Middaugh was the winner of the XTERRA Southeast and XTERRA West Championships, and he was the first American finisher at the XTERRA USA Championships, where he was second overall, and XTERRA Worlds, where he finished fourth in the field. Garrard returned to racing in 2013 after giving birth to her son, and she was the top American finisher at the XTERRA USA Championships and XTERRA Worlds, finishing fourth and fifth overall, respectively.
Men’s Off-Road Triathlete of the Year: Matthew Balzer (Reno, Nev.)
Honorable Mention: Cole Bunn (Bettendorf, Iowa)
Women’s Off-Road Triathlete of the Year: Hannah Rae Finchamp (Altadena, Calif.)
Honorable Mention: Elizabeth Gruber (Loma Linda, Calif.)
Men’s Elite Off-Road Triathletes of the Year: Josiah Middaugh (Boulder, Colo.)
Women’s Elite Off-Road Triathletes of the Year: Emma Garrard (Park City, Utah)
About USA Triathlon
Founded in 1982, USA Triathlon is proud to serve as the National Governing Body for triathlon – the fastest growing sport in the U.S. Olympic Movement – as well as duathlon, aquathlon, aquabike, winter triathlon, off-road triathlon and paratriathlon in the United States. USA Triathlon sanctions more than 4,300 races and connects with more than 550,000 members each year, making it the largest multisport organization in the world. In addition to its work with athletes, coaches and race directors on the grassroots level, USA Triathlon provides leadership and support to elite athletes competing at international events, including International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Championships, Pan American Games and the Olympic and Paralympic Games. USA Triathlon is a proud member of the ITU and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).