Robert Langer has never run the Lake Max Triathlon. Winning the event in 55 minutes, 49.5 seconds isn’t a bad way to start.
Langer, 28, of Valparaiso, Indiana, was using the Max as a conditioning race for the World Triathlon Grand Final in The Netherlands on Sept. 17. He wore a USA Triathlon singlet, which he earned by finishing eighth in his age group at the national championships last year. He will be participating as a member of Team USA in the age group sprint event in Rotterdam.
“I’m doing sprint triathlons as a way to train,” Langer said. “I ran the one in LaPorte last week and won that.”
He heard about the Max from his uncle, who also races. The Max is a USAT-certified triathlon.
Langer’s time was nearly two minutes faster than second place finisher Martin Wilkey, who clocked a 57:48.2 Elizabeth Kniesly was the first woman to cross the finish line in 1:02.24.3, good enough for 12th overall in the event that requires competitors to swim 400 meters around the Naval Pier, bike 11 miles around Lake Maxinkuckee, and run five kilometers along the lake.
Eli Pugh, who has won the Max the past two years was a spectator this year. A member of the Stanford University triathlon team, he was taking a break after maintaining a full schedule through the summer. “But I just had to come back and watch,” Pugh, who lives in nearby Rochester, said. Pugh holds the current record of 52.53.2, which he set in 2016.
Martin Wilkey finished second overall in 57:48.3. He was also the masters division winner. Jason Tucker-Ramer was third in 58:35.9. He also took the men’s 35-39 age group. The oldest racer was 76-year-old Dale Sullivan, who finished the course in 1:42:49.0. Two hundred seventy-six individuals participated in the triathlon.
Twenty-three four-person teams also participated this year, with Going to be Fast winning the men’s division in 59:48.0, Team Wabash taking the women’s in 1:10.40.4, and Donut Junkies Strike Back winning the coed division in 59:59.6.
New to the event this year was the duathlon. Fourteen women and 17 men took part in the 2-kilometer run, followed by an 11-mile bike ride, and finishing with a 5-K run. Kandis Schreiber was the top woman in a time of 1:15.59.1 and David Trapp took the men’s division in 1:02.37.2.
Eighty-five boys and girls participated in the kid’s triathlon. Liam Smith was the 5-7 age group winner and Luke Doyle was the 8-and-over winner.