Bruce Hartzler, a former William and Mary swimmer who now resides in Washington D.C., recently took first place in one of the oldest triathlons in the United States – the 15th annual Nantahala outdoorsman Triathlon in the Smokey Mountains of North Carolina.
Hartzler won with a time of 2:07.30.
Teammate Kirk Havens, a marine scientist from Hampton the Virginia Institute of Marine Science in Gloucester, took fourth place in the same race with a time of 2:09.30.
Following his fourth-place finish in the Open Division of the triathlon, Havens was one of nine Virginia canoeists who took part in the World Championship Outrigger Race in Hawaii.
Havens and his Virginia team finished 31st out of 60 teams which started the 41-mile race, crossing the Moloka’i to the Island of Oahu.
“We were doing great unitl we hit some 10-foot swells,” says Havens. “The crew wasn’t prepared for water that rough. A lot of us got sea sick. However, we did imporove over a 40th place finish in a prior race here in Hawaii.” The team finished with a time of 6:10.0.
The Virginia outrigger team – six of whom could be in the boat at any one time – included Kirk Havens, Charlie Barton of Chesapeake, Joe Edwards of Chesapeake, Jim Farrington of Portsmouth, Lyle Varnell of Norfolk, Dan Havens of Vienna, Bill Byrd of Ohio, Steve Fulton of New Hampshire and Nainoa Thompson of Hawaii.
“We persuaded Nainoa, a legend in Hawaii, to come out of retirement and be our steersmean. He never got out of the canoe. He steered the entire distance.”
The outrigger canoe is 40 feet long with six members paddling at one time. Nine members make up the team.
“Only six are allowed in the canoe at one time,” says Havens, who is also the president of the Mid-Atlantic Paddlers Association, a 40 to 50-member club based in Hampton and also including members from Williamsburg, Yorktown, Gloucester, Portsmouth, Chesapeake, Norfolk and Virginia Beach.
“I spent my share of the time paddling and it was quite an experience.”
In the Nantahala event, Farrington was second in 2:07.31 and Keith Havens third in 2:09.0. Teammate Dodge Havens of Richmond was sixth in 2:18.0.
“I thought our club members did awfully well in the triathlon,” says Kirk Havens.
Another teammate, Jim Perry of Gloucester County, placed third in the Masters Class in the triathlon, timed at 2:42.0.
“We had to do a one-mile swim in a lake, then a 4.2-mile run and wind up with an 8-mile paddle in running water and flat water,” says K. Havens.