MacDonald retains triathlon title


MELMERBY BEACH — Ryan Shaun MacDonald is once again Melmerby Triathlon champion.

The Green Hill athlete completed the swim, bike and run disciplines in two hours, two minutes, 54 seconds. He finished the Olympic distance six minutes faster than when he won last year, well ahead of runner-up Satish Punna of Moncton.

Shawn Noftall of Abercrombie was third and Peter Corbin of Linacy was fourth.

MacDonald said he was pleased with his performance. Only Andrea Burris of Truro left the water ahead of him through the swim portion of the triathlon.

Burris completed the swim in 22:39, six seconds ahead of MacDonald. But he took less than an hour to complete the 40-kilometre bike route and less than 40 minutes to finish his 10-K run.

Clear skies and calm water was followed by overcast conditions from a weather system that approached quickly and began yielding a light mist before a steady rain that ended shortly after MacDonald crossed the finish line.

“It was a great day,” he said. “The water was crystal-clear and the bike and running conditions were ideal. It was a great group of guys to race with.”

MacDonald’s future plans are to enter Ironman 70.3 event this year in Lake Placid, N.Y. in an effort to qualify among 19 competitors for the 2019 Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Nice, France. The event includes a 56-mile bike ride and a half marathon of 13.1 miles.

Race director Terry Curley praised MacDonald’s success and approach to triathlons.

“He’s a real champion,” Curley said. “He’s a talented athlete, but he’s also supportive of everyone.”

For his part, Noftall is among several athletes preparing to enter the half-Ironman scheduled for late August in Maine.

Clint Snell of Westville was sixth in the Olympic triathlon, while Christa Noftall of Abercrombie was ninth and third female finisher. Burris was 11th and fourth female.

Among other local entries, Hugh Munroe of Merigomish had a flat tire and retired from the event.

Fifty-nine athletes completed the Olympic triathlon.

Sheldon Morris of Springhill, N.S. won the sprint triathlon in 1:06:54.

Michelle Zunti of New Glasgow was top female and local finisher and was seventh overall, while Clare Munroe of Merigomish was eighth over and second female.

Ashlie Cormier of Trenton and Patsy Langille of New Glasgow were among others who finished the sprint distance.

“I had a good swim, a great bike ride and a good run,” said Langille, a veteran triathlete.

It was Cormier’s first triathlon.

“I think I’ll do it again next year,” she said. “It was on my bucket list and there is no better place for it.”

There were 62 entries who completed the sprint.

Jack Noftall of Abercrombie won the super sprint in 37 minutes, eight seconds, while leading a total of 24 finishers.

Debbie MacDonald of New Glasgow was second female and fourth overall.

The team of Julie Grant, Jeff Grant and Ian Grant won the team sprint that featured six teams.

Team MRL consisting of Richard Gladwin, Lewis Gladwin and Mason Trask, was the only entry in the team super sprint triathlon.

There were two entries in the aqua bike event and two others in the Olympic team event.

The second place team included Leah Clarke, Jim Proudfoot and Jamie MacGillivray.

Sunday’s event attracted more than 200 participants, once non-competitive entries are considered, Curley said.

“It was by far our biggest event year,” he said. “It was sold out a month ago and 200 is probably our maximum.”

Ryan Shaun MacDonald stands between Olympic triathlon runner-up Shawn Noftall, left, and third-place finisher Satish Punna. (Goodwin photo)