David Burley and Mary Paulsen are both veterans of the Charleston Sprint Triathlon Series -- competing in the popular event for a couple of summers while in college.
But now they can consider themselves among the prestigious list of triathlon winners in the series, which celebrates its 20th season this year.
Burley, 22, of Mount Pleasant, and Paulsen, 25, of Columbia, are both former collegiate athletes. At Hampden-Sydney College, Burley played soccer his first three years and ran cross country in his last year. Paulsen swam for Clemson for four years and was team captain. She recently moved back to the Palmetto State from a stint with Tyr swim company in California. Now out of school and with time to train appropriately for triathlon, the competition better look out.
Burley was trailing reigning sprint series champion Adam Martin until the run, when Burley overtook him at the 2.5-mile mark to win in 57 minutes, 57 seconds -- 16 seconds ahead of Martin.
"Triathlon is a fickle sport, and I just think today was my day. Adam hung tough, but like I said, it was my day."
Though Burley has a jump in the point standings for the 2010 series championship, which requires participation in at least three of the series triathlons, he was unsure of doing more than two. He's more inclined to train for USA Triathlon's Age Group Nationals and perhaps Ironman Augusta 70.3.
Paulsen, however, has signed up for all five sprint triathlons and hopes to shave minutes off her 1:05:39 time, in part, by working on her swimming.
"After I graduated, I started getting into running and doing marathons," said Paulsen, who has competed in the past two Boston marathons, finishing the last in 3:05. "So I haven't been swimming as much and actually think today's swim was slow."
This marks the first season that the series is featuring five triathlons -- which include a 600-yard swim, a 12.5-mile bike, and a 3.1-mile run. In all, 245 finished Sunday's race.
For more about Sunday's race, see David Quick's running blog at http://www.postandcourier.com/blogs/running_blog/.