East County Sports

Madden continues to dominate peers

LOCAL COVERAGE
By Nick Pellegrino
ECS staff writer

TULSA, Okla. —- San Diego’s Kurt Madden, who traces his professional roots to the East County as an early coach for the Heartland Swim Association, continues to win in his Hall of Fame career as a triathlete.

After earning his way to the top of the world rankings in the 60-64 age category for three years, Madden is now No. 1 in the world in the 65-69 plateau after capturing the Ironman North American Championship on Sunday (May 23).“I’m the baby in the group now,” Madden mused after claiming the title in the first full triathlon of the season. “I’m pretty excited.”

The triumph qualifies Madden for another trip to the Ironman World Championships.

Madden with his award.

“It’s very humbling — this will be my 10th trip to Kona,” Madden added. “On top of that, it was my third North American age-group championship.”

The results did not easy since the weather failed to cooperate with race organizers.

“It rained every day that I was there,” he noted. “Before I arrived, I had visions of cowboys and horses. But when I flew in on Thursday, Tulsa looked more like Ireland because of all the rain.”

The weather kept times down, yet Madden maintained a reasonable pace of 10:13 per mile as the lone competitor in his age group to finish under 12 hours. Madden finished in 11 hours, 41 minutes, some 22 minutes better than Kevin Zepp of Michigan.

“The bike ride was hard because of the rain,” he noted. “On a course already poor because of rough patches, potholes and difficult inclines, the rain made everything a bit dicier.”

The layout was a typical Ironman course: a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride, then then a full marathon of 26.2 miles.

“It was a lot of work, but I didn’t waver at all.”

Next for Madden is the triathlon in Idaho at Ironman Coeur d’Alene on June 27. The world championship in Kona, Hawai’i. is slated for October 9.

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