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Ben Williams earns first Lavaman crown

Updated: 
March 30, 2015 - 12:05am

WAIKOLOA — Tim Marr has earned the reputation of being one of the hardest working people in triathlon, but even the savvy veteran knows one thing for certain.

“There is no faking it in triathlon,” said Marr after crossing the finish line at Lavaman Waikoloa in fourth place on Sunday.

The three-time and defending Lavaman champion could not make up for more than a half-year hiatus from the sport, settling with a fourth place finish.

Ben Williams took advantage of Marr’s absence at the front of the pack, blazing through the Olympic Distance (1.5K swim, 40K Bike and 10K run) course in 1 hour 54 minutes and 47 seconds for his first Lavaman Waikoloa title.

“This is the most fun race in the world, and it lived up to that standard again today,” Williams said. “The course is beautiful and the atmosphere and volunteers are really the best.”

Williams finished more than three minutes ahead of second place finisher Chris Gregory of Hilo, who was the only other finisher to come in under the two hour mark at 1:58:15. Alaska athlete Daniel Folmar (2:01:04) rounded out the top finisher podium.

Despite a fourth place finish, Marr came away from the race in good spirits.

“I knew I wasn’t coming here racing at my top level, but I didn’t want to miss it,” Marr said. “I hadn’t done a triathlon in about seven months, but that is no excuse. All the other guys did phenomenal. I couldn’t hang today but still had a lot of fun.”

Williams came up on the final sandy stretch at Anaehoomalu Beach with no other competitor in sight, and left no doubt with a 34:42 run to wrap up the day.

“There were a couple little turnarounds where I could see where everyone was at, and I knew if I kept up a certain pace I was going to be able to hold onto that gap,” Williams said. “There is a difficult section of the run towards the end that you have to go slow. It’s nice to be able to bring your heart rate down because at that point your legs are just dying.”

Williams and Marr both train on Oahu, and the newest member of the exclusive Lavaman winner’s club expressed his admiration for his fellow competitor.

“It means a lot to be racing with Tim,” said Williams. “I moved to Hawaii in 2009 and he has always been the standard to try to reach and be close to. I was glad to have him out here pushing me today.”

Other male age group winners from the Big Island included: David Wild (Ages 20-29, overall time 2:06:04); Helgi Olafson (30-34, 2:16:43); Ben Torres (45-49, 2:11:21).

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