Competitor's death, brutal winds mar inaugural Ironman Utah

Americans Tony DeBoom and Jenny Tobin took out wins in the inaugural Ironman Utah staged Saturday near Provo, Utah amid howling winds that forced race organizers to call off the swim and shorten the race.

A 55-year-old California man, John H. Boland, was pulled from the water and taken to hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Autopsy results were expected today to determine the cause of death, Ironman North America officials said.

Boland, who lived in Redondo Beach, had at least two Ironman finishes to his credit — in Hawaii in 1995, and in Malaysia.

The race started amid 30mph wind gusts and three- to four-foot waves in the water, the result of a weather front that moved in several hours earlier than forecasted after days of clear, sunny days. Less than 20 minutes after the race started the swim was called off, according to, and competitors were pulled from the water or told to return to shore.

One athlete said he believed he completed the entire swim, but he couldn't be sure as he saw only two buoys the entire way--the rest had been blown away or out of place.

Once officials had accounted for all of the swimmers, the race resumed at 10 a.m. as a shortened duathlon, with competitors leaving in a time-trial format a few seconds apart. Athletes were to ride a 65-mile portion of the course that eliminated a section through a canyon, and then run a half-marathon. Some competitors said their cycle computers registered the altered course as closer to 70 miles.

Top age-grouper Cherie Gruenfeld was injured in a bike crash, as was Colorado age-grouper Jason McDonald, who collided with a boat and trailer and was hospitalized. The Associated Press reports that the truck driver "ignored barriers and a police officer who was directing traffic." He was cited by police.

On the run, DeBoom held off a fast-closing Tim Luchinske of the U.S. to seal the win by nearly a minute. The women's race was much closer, with Tobin charging through the field on the run to make up a nearly six-minute deficit to the leaders off the bike and win by just nine seconds.

The race had 80 qualifying slots to Kona and a $50,000 prize purse.

Ironman Utah
Saturday, June 8, 2002; Provo, Utah
(65-mile bike/13.1-mile run)

1) Tony DeBoom (USA) 4:05:41
2) Tim Luchinske (USA) 4:06:35
3) Benjamin Hastings (USA) 4:14:02
4) C.J. Castle (USA) 4:18:22
5) Konrad Von Allmen (SUI) 4:18:35
6) Donald King (CAN) 4:20:49
7) Nicholas Cady (USA) 4:24:20
8) Brendan Brazier (CAN) 4:24:26
9) Petr Vabrousek (CZE) 4:25:14
10) Arthur Mathisen (USA) 4:27:23

1) Jenny Tobin (USA) 4:40:04
2) Susan Williams (USA) 4:40:13
3) Beth Zinkand (USA) 4:42:14
4) Teri Duthie (USA) 4:43:20
5) Joanna Lawn (NZL) 4:47:40
6) Anissa Seguin (USA) 4:50:05
7) Jeanne Anne Krizman (USA) 4:51:42
8) Judith McSweeney (USA) 5:00:35
9) Deanna Frank (USA) 5:03:05
10) Annette Mack (GER) 5:09:37

Note: This article originally appeared in the TriBiz Reader newsletter, which is published by

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