triathalon; Spring Meadow (copy)

Last year's Spring Meadow Triathlon got off to a rainy start. Judging by the forecast, this year's event at Spring Meadow Lake may be a bit soggy as well.

The long-running Spring Meadow Triathlon will take place on Sunday, with the Olympic distance starting at 8 a.m. and the sprint race beginning at 9.

Last year's Olympic winners, Dylan Gillespie of Bozeman and Helena's Erika Ackerlund, are not entered, but both fields contain several top returning performers.

In the women's field, seven of 2015's Top 10 are baack, according to race director LeeAnn Books, including Jen Reiter (Billings), Kristen Nichols (Manhattan), Bozeman's Renee Swinson and Aubrey Wall, and Helena's Julie Ackerlund, Ingrid McLellan and Marisa Hardy.

In the men's field, Evan Eck of Helena -- last year's runner-up -- appears to be the pre-race favorite. He recently captured Missoula's Grizzly Triathlon. John Melvin, last year's third-place finisher, could also contend.

A few of the pre-race favorites in the sprint race include Jamie Ritter (Bozeman) in the women's division; and in the men's race Sean Phelps (Billings) and Helena's Bob Rasmussen and Brian Dekiep.

There are a combined total of 89 triathletes participating in this year's races.

NOTE: The Spring Meadow Triathlon originated in 1983 and was contested sporadically until being revitalized in 1998. It has now been held for the past 18 successive years.

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Curt Synness is on Twitter @curtsynnes_IR and can be reached at curt52s@bresnan.net.


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