The Seward Phoenix Log - News of the Eastern Kenai Peninsula since 1966

By Tommy Wells
Seward Phoenix LOG 

Stueben races to Tri-Harder-Thon win

 

Tommy Wells

Anchorage's Kevin O'Neal pedals across the finish line during Saturday's Tri-Harder-Thon race in Seward.

Jacob Stueben of Anchorage found the perfect way to celebrate his 24th birthday on Saturday. He paddled, pedaled and jogged his way to a win in the 2017 Tri-Harder-Thon.

"Perhaps the birthday gods were looking down on me," Stueben said after reaching the finish line. "The race went pretty well, for the most part. I had a great time."

The victory didn't come without some trouble, he admitted. A blown tire in the bicycle stage almost threatened to take the Kalispell, Montana, native out of the event.

After building an early lead out of the grueling 5-mile kayaking stage and a tough 6-mile run from the Primrose Day-Use campground to the Meridian/Grayling trailhead parking lot, Stueben said, he thought he was in prime position to win the event.

Those early thoughts came to an end midway through the 12-mile bicycle stage. About 6 miles into the final run, the Tri-Harder-Thon rookie suffered a blowout on the rear tire of his bike.

"I was having a great time until about halfway through, then the tire blew out," he said. "From there, the guy that was in second place caught up to me. For a moment, I thought I was done."

Fortunately for Stueben, he was able to get a pump from a bystander and re-inflate that rear tire.

Tommy Wells

Seward's David Lording finished the 2017 Tri-Harder-Thon race

From there, it was just a matter of making up for lost time, he said.

"I had the fear in me, for sure," he said. But with triumph behind him, his friends in Anchorage were going to help him celebrate his birthday-and the win-when he returned by throwing him a party complete with ice cream and the movie " Space Jam."

"They're trying to help me make up for all the birthday parties I didn't have when I was a kid," he said, laughing.

Like Stueben, Kevin O'Neal, also from Anchorage, said he enjoyed the race although the running stage was grueling.

"The run was pretty steep and ... rocky," he said. "There were a lot of turned ankles, for sure, but I think it (the race) went pretty well, especially since it was my first time to do it."

 

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