The first wave digs through the water off the Henry Maier Festival Park in the USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships. PHOTO BY TOM HELD
The first wave digs through the water off the Henry Maier Festival Park in the USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships. PHOTO BY TOM HELD

Mark Harms, a 37-year-old from Madison, won his sixth title in the USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships in Milwaukee on Saturday, and finished within a minute of winning the overall Olympic-distance race that included 3,100 of the country’s top amateur athletes.

Harms covered the 1,500-meter swim, 40K bike and 10K run in 1 hour, 51 minutes, 45 seconds, good for second place overall behind Steven Mantell, of Fort Collins, Colo., who topped the field. Harms continued his run of success with the victory in the 35-39 age group. Fellow 35-39 competitor James Burke, of Middleton, was third overall in 1:52:06, having aged up from the 30-34 age group that he won last year.

“The national championships are becoming more and more competitive every year,” Harms said. “This is my ninth year doing this and […] it keeps getting higher and higher caliber athletes every year. It easily is the most competitive Olympic-distance race in the country right now.”

In the women’s division, Heather Lendway, of St. Paul, Minn., put up the fastest time of the day, 2 hours, 5 minutes, 7 seconds and won the overall and the 20-24 age group.

Dani Fischer, a former University of Wisconsin – Madison runner,  finished second overall to win her 25-29 age group in a time of 2:05:35, improving on her ninth-place age group finish and 20th overall women’s finish from 2013. Jennifer Garrison (Naperville, Ill.) also improved on her finish position from last year, winning the female 35-39 age group in 2:06:38 after finishing second in 2013, and finishing third overall for the women.

Tom Held blogs at TheActivePursuit.com for Silent Sports.