Saint Louis, Missouri
Life, Love & Nature
by Lindsay Blum
2010 Great Illini Challenge
September 4, 2010
Mattoon Beach, Illinois
Racers couldn't have wished for better race-day weather as over 180 triathletes began to prepare their transition spots on a chilly, Saturday morning at Mattoon Beach.
The 2010 Great Illini Challenge, hosting a 70.3 Half-Distance Ironman triathlon and an Olympic Distance triathlon, attracted local triathletes as well as "Biggest Loser" winner, Matt Hoover, and professional triathletes Andrew Starykowics (who finished first-overall in the half distance with a 24:58 swim, 2:09:21 bike, and 1:25:37 half-marathon), and Jared Woodford (who finished second-overall in the half distance with a 25:01 swim, 2:23:55.10 bike, and an impressive 1:19:24 half-marathon).
Another great component of this year's race was the athlete support given by enthusiastic spectators. Several spectators brought homemade signs wishing their triathletes good luck, and several children cheered on racers with the commonly-heard cowbell.
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