HUMAN RACE TRIATHLON : Experience Helps Richardson Hold Off Youth for First Place

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Tony Richardson, 31, had no trouble handling the younger competition Sunday in the 14th Human Race Triathlon.

Richardson, who has been competing in triathlons eight years, finished in 58 minutes 39.9 seconds, and runner-up Mike Osier, 22, came in at 59:47.6.

The Human Race, which is the oldest triathlon in the continental United States, consists of a half-mile swim, 13-mile bicycle race and 3.1-mile run.

Richardson, who lives in Cardiff, came out of the water in second place behind Kerry Classen, 19, of Mission Viejo. But Richardson opened a commanding lead at about the two-mile mark of the bicycle race to finish more than a minute ahead of Osier of Eureka, Calif. Carlsbad's Erik Burgan, 17, was third (59:58.8); Classen fourth (1:00:18), and Huntington Beach's Rod Hansen, 23, fifth (1:00:57).

"I really expected the race to be between myself and Kerry Classen because he's a great athlete. He's probably the hottest up-and-coming triathlete around," Richardson said. "He just didn't have a very good bike today."

Classen, who competed in swimming and cross-country at Mission Viejo High School and became a professional triathlon competitor after graduating, was in second place halfway through the bike race. But he said his bike's front wheel was rubbing against the frame, and after he got off it to fix the problem, he knew he was too far back to catch the leaders.

Classen, who defeated current world triathlon champion Miles Stewart of Australia at the Oxnard triathlon in July, said he has problems being consistent. "I show glimpses here and there," he said.

Sharon Wetherall of Australia, the women's winner, finished 49th of 520 competitors. Wetherall, who has been staying in Capistrano Beach the past five months, had a time of 1:08:35.9 to finish ahead of runner-up Candice Kutrosky (1:09:02.8) of Los Angeles. Stephani Munatones of Santa Monica was third (1:09:14.5).

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