Escape from Alcatraz ends with victory dance

Andy Potts was too pumped up to just break the tape at the end of the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon. Instead, the 30-year-old concluded a dancing, fist-pumping celebration down the final straightaway in Marina Green by lifting the barrier over his head and flashing a satisfied smile.

Potts — who was the runner-up in last year’s race and finished third two years ago — completed his climb to the top of the prestigious race by finishing the course in one hour, 59 minutes and 34 seconds, more than 40 seconds ahead of second-place Bevin Docherty (2:00.17). Greg Bennett (2:00.21) took third place while last year’s champion, Matty Reed, (2:02.04) finished in fourth and Greg Remaly finished fifth (2:02.31).

“Once you get into that final chute with a lead, you think about all the hard work you put in and you just really want to enjoy it,” Potts said. “And you can’t help but be excited. At least I can’t.”

Potts was second in a small cluster of athletes to complete the 1.5-mile swim from Alcatraz to St. Francis Yacht Club, then made his move on the bike ride and maintained a comfortable lead for much of the final half of the race. The cycling course took riders on an 18-mile loop from Marina Green through the Presidio and Golden Gate Park and back, where the competitors ditched their bikes and ran to and from Baker Beach. But while Potts seemed to be cruising down the final stretch of the 8-mile run, the Colorado resident said the victory did not come without pain.

“This is such a difficult sport, and I’m always pushing my limits and I’m never sure when I’m going to blow out a gear,” Potts said. “But it never hurts as bad when you win. Especially a prestigious race like this.”

While Potts made a steady climb to the top of the race, women’s winner Leanda Cave took the title in her first appearance. The 29-year-old native of Great Britain crossed the line in 2:18.47, well ahead of second-place Pip Taylor (2:19.35). They were followed by Alexis Waddel (2:20.29), Joanna Lawn (2:21.25) and defending champion Becky Lavelle of Los Gatos (2:22.11).

Cave, who now trains in Mill Valley, said she struggled to find a rhythm during the swim but was buoyed by the fans surrounding some parts of the course.

“Amongst the professionals, this race is a huge deal — it’s been won by the legends of the sport,” Cave said. “When you win, your name stays in those ranks forever. And I’m really proud to have been able to do it.”

Top 10 finishers

TOP MALES

1. Andy Potts 1:59.34

2. Bevin Docherty 2:00.17

3. Greg Bennett 2:00.21

4. Matty Reed 2:02.04

5. Greg Remaly 2:02.31

6. David Thompson 2:03.49

7. Matthew Seymour 2:05.19

8. Brian Fleischmann 2:05.39

9. Matt Chrabot 2:05.41

10. Nicholas Becker 2:07.12

TOP FEMALES

1. Leanda Cave 2:18.47

2. Pip Taylor 2:19.35

3. Alexis Waddel 2:20.29

4. Joanna Lawn 2:21.25

5. Becky Lavelle 2:22.11

6. Erin Ford 2:22.18

7. Kelly Couch 2:24.42

8. Linda Gallo 2:25.54

9. Gina Kehr 2:27.05

10. Lara Brown 2:27.38

melliser@examiner.com


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