FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- Fairfield County sent a large delegation to Sunday's Syracuse Ironman 70.3-mile race, and once again, Easton's Chris Thomas shined the brightest.
Thomas won overall honors and captured the amateur crown for the third straight year in a race that includes a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike ride and 13.1-mile run.
Thomas' swim was 27:13, which was 13th overall. He finished the ride in 2:22:20, the fourth fastest time in the field. He ran 1:26:50 in the half marathon and finished with a total time of 4:20:58. Michael Hoffman of Rochester, N.Y., was second in 4:21:54.
"It was humid on the run for sure,'' Thomas said. "The conditions were slower this year. There were more winds on the bike and it had rained pretty good earlier in the morning, so the roads were wet, slower, and a bit more dangerous on the corners."
Thomas said he was unaware where he was in the standings after starting in the fourth wave.
"I swam pretty well and my bike was in line with my fitness level right now,'' said Thomas, owner of Personal Training Professionals in Southport. "My run was actually a bit off on the day. Overall, I was 11 minutes slower than last year, but I believe everyone that raced both years were significantly slower this year. I just tried to run to my comfort level and tried to hold decent form."
Thomas won the amateur division of a 70.3-mile race for the 18th time in his career. With the triathlon season just beginning, Thomas' most important races are still ahead.
"This year is different for me. Usually, I am peaked at this time of year, because I am trying to qualify for the Ironman World Championships,'' he said. "However, I decided to take two years off from racing Kona and the 70.3 World Championships in order to recharge the batteries a little bit. Those races take a big toll each year."
Thomas is aiming to peak for the International Triathlon Union Olympic distance World Championship, which will be held in Chicago on Sept. 20 and Ironman Maryland on Oct. 3. He will also compete this Sunday in the Olympic distance event at the Stamford KIC It Triathlon.
Rowayton's Gus Ellison also had a strong showing at Syracuse, finishing second in the 40-44 division and 15th overall with a time of 4:35:40. Ellison closed with a swift 1:30:17 half marathon.
There were 2,076 athletes entered in the race. Some triathletes did not finish the race due to bad weather. The race was called off at 3 p.m.
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