ByGeorgeF. Lee, Star-Bulletin
Katherine Nichols, center, tells her friend Heather Jorris
to join her as they near the finish in yesterday's Tinman Triathlon.

A storybook finish

Imonen takes center stage
but is overshadowed by Nichols
in Tinman Triathlon winner's circle

By Jack Wyatt
Special to the Star-Bulletin

While professional Brent Imonen of Honolulu was methodically destroying his competition on the way to his fourth consecutive Tinman Triathlon men's title yesterday, three female amateurs proceeded to steal the show.

''I wasn't favored to win,'' said Waikiki's Katherine Nichols, after her huge upset women's victory. ''Placing first came as a huge surprise. It also gave me a sinking feeling about beating my friend and training partner (Heather Jorris).''

Oahu's most popular triathlon (1,065 participants) began with an 800-meter Ala Moana Beach Park swim, followed by a 40-kilometer (24.8 miles) bike race to Hawaii Kai and back to Waikiki.

The 17th annual event concluded with a 10-kilometer (6.2 miles) run circling Diamond Head, finishing at Kapiolani Park.

Nichols, 31, a former age-group swimmer and UCLA runner who is now a mother of two, emerged second from the water, well behind Brigid O'Meara, 28. Jorris, also 28, finished third in the swim.

''Brigid took off on the bike, leaving Heather and I to ride for second place,'' Nichols said.

But the run proved O'Meara's downfall, passed first by Jorris then by Nichols.

''I closed, then caught Heather near the top of Diamond Head Road,'' Nichols said. ''We ran together, then I moved in front. You feel uneasy about passing a friend.''

Approaching the park finish, Nichols, then several yards ahead, turned and gestured to her pal, ''please catch up.''

''I wanted to finish in a tie for first place, not to beat her,'' she said. But Jorris would have no part of that.

''Sure I wanted to win but not that way,'' Jorris said. ''Katherine was the best today. And I'm happy for her.''

Nichols turned the course in one-hour, 54 minutes and 58 seconds, finishing a scant one second over Jorris. O'Meara placed third in 1:56:26.

Debbie Hornsby, five-time defending women's division champ, did not enter, citing a leg muscle injury.

ByGeorgeF. Lee, Star-Bulletin

“My goal now is to continue
my improvement as a professional,
both in Hawaii and on
he mainland.”

Brent Imonen

Men's winner

The men's race was almost all Imonen, as the former Kaiser High School athlete placed a close second to Peter Hursty in the swim, then went on to dominate the bike and run.

''My fastest Tinman performance ever,'' the four-time winner said. ''My goal now is to continue my improvement as a professional, both in Hawaii and on the mainland.''

Tinman is a ''people's triathlon'' and awards no cash prizes. But that didn't stop Imonen, 28, from taking part.

''Honolulu is my home and Tinman is Oahu's best race. If I can inspire others to enter triathlons, it's worth my time and effort to race,'' he said.

Imonen finished in 1:41:20, followed by Lahaina's Jeff Sanders, 28, in 1:42:57. Oahu's Ted Thome, 26, finished third in 1:43:50.

Fourth place Sandra Reid (1:59:06), among women, and sixth finisher Cliff Rigsbee (1:48:04), among men led Tinman's 40-and-over masters participants.

University of Hawaii runner Rachel Leber kicked off her cross-country training by winning Tinman's 15-19 women's division in 2:44:22.

For Kailua's five-member Meindertsma clan, Tinman meant family fun with loads of prizes.

''At one time I could beat my boys, but no longer,'' said Peter Meindertsma, who finished third in his 50-54 age division in in 2:16:48.

Meindertsma's wife, Sharon, finished in 2:38, while sons Josh, 18, and Jay, 21, turned the course in 2:13 and 2:09, respectively. Each of the family members received awards.

Peter Bourne (2:01:09) and his wife Katy (2:18:03) each placed second in their respective age divisions, while Guy Davis and his spouse Jeanne turned in standout efforts in their respective 60-64 age groupings.

For Amy Barcia Harpstrite, a Kailua pediatrician, Tinman was what the doctor ordered.

''I've finished all 17 events,'' Harpstrite said, still fresh after her 2:39 effort. ''And nothing beats a vigorous swim, bike and run. I recommend triathlons to everyone.''

For Tinman finishers Giovanna Aquilera and Vicky Nabarrete, yesterday's Tinman served as a warm-up for Hui Wa'a Association canoe paddling at nearby Waikiki Beach.

''We paddle for Koa Kai Canoe Club,'' Aquilera said. "Tinman provides a perfect start to our day."

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