INDIAN RIVER COUNTY – The first ever Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Triathlon drew more than 70 competitors from all over the state and as far away as New York to the barrier island.
It was a local man, however, who took home the top prize in his division. Vero Beach’s Eddie Branigan won the inaugural LLS Conquistadors Triathlon, besting a field of 73 competitors with a time of 59:20.
“We are very thankful for the support from our volunteers, as well as the support we received from the city of Vero Beach, Indian River Shores and Indian River County,” Ospina added. “The logistics of setting up a triathlon are different than a 10k or 5k – it is a little more involved than that. The race company that does our timing and logistics (Racesmith), said this was the most organized event they had done in the area. We were very happy we have a very good group of volunteers.”
The LLS Conquistadors Sprint Triathlon was set up to raise awareness of the fight against blood cancers. Proceeds went to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
“Blood cancer is something we can’t escape,” Ospina said. “This race was a way to get the LLS out there, and raise awareness.”
Branigan, 39, took a 23-second lead over eventual second-place finisher, Vero Beach’s Vincent Burke, out of the quarter-mile swimming leg and into the bicycling leg of the race.
Branigan widened the gap by 1:59 on the 12-mile bike course, and he cruised to victory with a 19:43 time on the 3.1-mile run.
His swim and bike times were the race’s best, and his run was third-best. Burke, 37, turned in the second-best times on all three legs of the race.
Palm Bay resident Kim Hunger, 31, placed ninth overall and led all women with a time of 1:11:38.
Vero Beach’s Alyssa Kerperien, 39, took second-place with a time of 1:14:52.
1) Eddie Branigan, 39, Vero Beach, 59:20;
2) Vincent Burke, 37, 1:01:43,
4) Glenn Tremml, 51, 1:06:50,
5) Randy Kerperien, 35, 1:06:56
1) Kim Hunger, 31, 1:11:38
2) Alyssa Kerperien, 39, 1:14:52
6) Kimberly Palmer, 37, 1:22:47
7) Beth Ratliff, 44, 1:23:54
8) Amy Patterson, 41, 1:24:22
9) Christina Vorce, 41, 1:29:02