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Bree Wee conquers Lavaman Waikoloa, again

Updated: 
March 30, 2015 - 12:05am

WAIKOLOA — Bree Wee wore bib No. 1 at Lavaman Waikoloa on Sunday, and by the end of the day, her No. 1’s at the event added up to six.

The Kona based professional triathlete dominated the 1.5K swim, 40K Bike and 10K run with a time of 2 hours 7 minutes and 46 second to add a sixth Lavaman title to her resume.

Wee’s time was more than three minutes off the pace of her runner-up finish of 2014, but managed to separate herself from the competition early with a stellar 19:52 swim — good for fifth overall on the day and first among female competitors. It also helped her bike (1:04:11) and run (42:09) times were also tops in her division.

Wee came into the race fresh off a top 10 finish at the IRONMAN Asia-Pacific Championship in Melbourne, Australia last week. There she raced against the likes of reigning IRONMAN World champion Mirinda Carfrae and two-time IRONMAN 70.3 champ Melissa Hauschildt.

But even with minimal recovery time, Wee couldn’t stay away from Waikoloa.

“I didn’t have any hesitation about racing here, but my coach did. He tried to talk me out of it to recover from Ironman, but I convinced him I could do it,” Wee said with a laugh. “I had to go hard on the bike because I knew my run legs might not be there after last week. At the halfway point of the run I saw I had a little gap on the next girl so I tried to chill out a little bit. I was in a whole world of pain.”

Kathy Winkler of Mill Valley, California finished as the second overall female, coming in at 2:15:07. Honolulu’s Mariane Uehara took the No. 3 spot, using a strong run to finish at 2:19:14.

Lavaman is always a homecoming for Wee, not just because it’s on her home soil of the Big Island, but also because it’s where her dream of being a professional triathlete started to take shape.

“This is where my triathlon career really started,” Wee said. “(Race director Gerry Rott) has always put on an elite start, and one year she let me race in that wave even though I didn’t have my pro card yet. I had a pretty good race so I knew it was a potential career path that could open up for me. It eventually did, so I have a lot gratitude for her putting on this race because it gave me the confidence I needed to pursue my triathlon dream.

Other female age group winners from the Big Island included: Olga Brocks (ages 1-19, overall time 2:54:42); Winona Chen (25-29. 2:26:29); Sylvia Ravaglia (35-39, 2:25:03); Karlyn Pipes (50-54, 2:26:59); Jeni Winegarner (55-59, 2:25:08); and Windy Minor (70-74, 3:19:30).

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