Charleston women sweep top 3 spots at Kiawah Triathlon

The first female finisher, Lauren Wilson of Charleston, crosses the finish line. Jamie C. Rood/Special to The Post and Courier

By David Quick

Females from the metro Charleston area swept the first three finishes for women in Sunday’s inaugural Kiawah Island Golf Resort Triathlon, but on the men’s side, only one hailed from the Lowcountry.

All but three of the 305 who entered the ocean finished the triathlon, featuring a .7-mile ocean swim, a 25.1-mile bike and 6.1-mile bike. In all, 410 registered for the event including relay teams, which met the event’s registrant cap.

Lauren Wilson, 33, of James Island, won the triathlon — her second overall win this year — with a time of 2 hours, 21 minutes, 4 seconds. The self-described “endurance junkie” won the TryCharleston Half Iron Distance race in April and is training for the Beach to Battleship Half Iron Distance tri in November.

“I’m better at the longer distances,” said Wilson, who helps run her husband’s business, Charleston Bicycle Shoppe on Savannah Highway.

Janet Carter, 36, and Stephanie Buffo, 24, both of Charleston, took second and third places with times of 2:25:42 and 2:25:57, the closest margin between top competitors. Buffo, a triathlon newbie, won the Charleston Sprint Triathlon Series Championship last month.

For the men, David Harding, 26, of Pooler, Ga., won in 2:07:47. The civil engineer has been doing triathlons for four years and recently became a USA Triathlon coach as side job. He is aiming his sights on the Revolution3 triathlon in Anderson in October.

“I thought this would be a good warm-up race for Rev3,” he said.

Harding overtook Yorlliry “George” Moreno, 23, of Bluffton, at Mile 4 — along the only hot section of the mostly shady course, about a mile and a half on the beach. Moreno finished in 2:08:53.

The third place male, 34-year-old Wesley Fox of New York City, finished nearly six minutes behind in 2:14:38.

The top relay team happened to represent a new charity started on Kiawah. The Harbour House seeks to raise $10 million to build a place for out-of-town veterans and their families to stay while undergoing surgery or rehabilitation at the local Veteran’s Administration Hospital. The team was made up of male swimmer Danny Linas, male cyclist Danny Einhorn and female runner Barrett Willis.

Paul Shockley, program manager for the Kiawah Island recreation department, said he and other organizing staffers were pleased with the result of the event, noting that both the current and wind favored the triathletes and swim relay participants.

He noted the triathletes came from 23 states and as far away as South Dakota.

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