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Sonoma Women’s Triathlon took place on July 1, 2021. After canceling our 2020 race due to Covid-19, we bit our nails wondering if we’d be allowed to race in 2021. As Spring unfolded and the health conditions improved, word from Sonoma County moved from ‘No’ to ‘Maybe, but just 50 people,’ to ‘Ok, you’re a go!’

The challenges didn’t end there.

2021 was run in a one-time-only duathlon format after drought caused our watercourse to be closed. Hurdling this challenge, we gathered for a run/bike/run race that started and finished at Healdsburg Community Center in Healdsburg proper. Above all, the race team was determined to offer this event after the long hiatus in racing we had all endured, believing that the race is worth it and that being together is important.

The race planning included a number of accommodations to Covid-19. Before the race, we had 3 race briefings via Zoom instead of the traditional race gathering. Bibs were mailed instead of picked up. We introduced cupless racing our community, as well as touchless aid stations. Race day approached with the promise of a hot race day.

On race morning, we found the air to be crisp and inviting, with the promise of heat in the air. Smiles were bountiful and our racers were ready to go. The races unfolded quickly with a race day field of about 100 athletes across the different events. In the 10k race, Alexa Lua of Santa Rosa, California, started fast, running her first 5k in under 18 minutes. She was so fast that she ran through the Sprint racers, to her victory. Alison Gathright and Morgan Murphy joined her on the podium.

In the Sprint race, Jessica Nuñez of Berkeley, California, likewise, raced out to a commanding lead, with a sub-18 opening 5k giving her a lead that she never relinquished. Alyssa Roy and Paige Howie followed her, filling out the podium.

The Olympic race was much more hotly contested, with lead changes between the run and bike legs. For most of the race, the top 4 were within sight of one another and at the conclusion, 10 seconds separated places 2 through 4. At the Finish, Allyson Black of Vacaville stood atop the podium, followed by Caroline Willian of San Francisco and Chelsea Bingham of Geyserville.

Each race stands on the shoulders of giants — the 3 Sisters of Sonoma Women’s Tri: Oakland Triathlon Club, Golden Gate Triathlon Club and Silicon Valley Triathlon Club. Each of these groups, along with Healdsburg Running Company, were responsible for volunteers across the course, starting with camping out to guard transition and rolling through the final pack up. In all more than 50 volunteers supported the 2021 race. Without these great groups and their extended following, the race simply wouldn’t be possible.

2021 also saw the continued support from our amazing Assistant Race Director, Michelle Pool, Run Course Captain, Kevin Hardesty, Bike Course Captain, Kay Dawson, and Transition Captain, Dana Jones. Their leadership makes the race spin like a top. Many thanks to all who took part, your families and supporters, the volunteers and our friends, the entire SWT Team.

I look forward to seeing all of you in 2022, for a triathlon worthy of the great tradition of Sonoma Women’s Triathlon.

Adam Ray