Carlsen, Benavidez finish first in 2012 Socorro Triathlon

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Despite Friday night fears that strong winds and stormy conditions might dampen the 17th Annual Socorro Chile Harvest Triathlon, Saturday’s competition went off without a hitch and 2012 marked another successful edition of the popular event. The sun shone bright on Saturday morning, as did competitors who battled a challenging course that attracts all levels of athletes.

“It’s a good first-time race for people, but it’s also challenging enough for people who have done several races,” Kim Carlsen said.

The 53-year-old Carlsen, who has run the Socorro triathlon for about four or five years now, took first place overall in the female category with a time of 1:07:38.

“It’s got a nice local, family feel to it,” she said.

Carlsen also competes in the Ironman Triathlon in Arizona, a version of the competition that tests the limits of human conditioning. That race consists of a 3.86 kilometer swim, a 180.25 kilometer bike and a full 26.2 mile marathon.

While the Chile Harvest Triathlon is considered a much shorter sprint version, Carlsen thinks there are many positives about it.

“I think it’s very friendly and they make it easy to race the course. Volunteers are great, the course is well-marked.

“They put on a really good race. I’ve enjoyed the competition here.”

Finishing behind Carlsen in second place overall in the female division was Lorraine Pa Mer with a time of 1:11:06, and Jamie Asgaard came in third with a time of 1:14:50.

Socorro’s Alyssa Higgs came in seventh place at 1:19:07 overall, and her sister, Jennell, finished just 21 hundredths of a second behind her, taking ninth place.

Cameron Kristensen won the female 15-and-under group and also placed fourth among female finishers overall, while the Higgs sisters finished first and second in the female 20-24 age category.

Megan Gonzales took first in females ages 25-29, Martha Weisler won the 30-34 age group, and Kerrie Hodges finished first in females ages 35-39.

The male competition was slightly more tightly contested than the female race, as just 1 minute and 5 seconds separated first and third place.

Frankie Benavidez captured first with a time of 58:29 and Micah Zuhl was 43 seconds behind him at 59:12 to win second. Jason Atkinson finished third with an overall time of 59:34.

Benavidez, who was competing in his first triathlon in a few years, said he enjoys the small-town feel of the Socorro event.

“It’s very well run and homey, in a good way,” he said. “It’s just a good triathlon all around.”

Socorro cross country head coach Steven Montoya finished in sixth place with a time of 1:01:09, and William Kessler finished the course in 1:04:53, good enough for 11th place.

Socorro’s Devan Webb, in his first adult triathlon, won the male 14-and-under group, Josh Gordon took first in the male 18-19 age category and Kessler took first in the male 20-24 age division.

In the male 25-29 age group, Adam Martinez took first. Brian Gutierrez was fastest in the male 30-34 age group, and Montoya had the best time in the male 35-39 age category.

With 190 participants in 2012, the Socorro Chile Harvest Triathlon has consistently remained an attraction for athletes from all around the state, and Texas, Colorado and Arizona as well.

The numerous volunteers and the friendly nature of Socorroans adds incentive for competitors to race the course year after year.

“Oh definitely, I’ll be back for sure,” Benavidez said.

Full results from the weekend’s events can be found at www.chasing3.com or www.chileharvesttri.com.