Huntsville Item 8/26/16

Elite-level training

Eight top triathletes train for IRONMAN championship at SHSU

By JP McBride Aug 26, 2016

         Joshua Yates/The Huntsville Item

Professional triathlete Jeanni Seymour powers through the finish of a fast mile as she trains at Huntsville State Park on Thursday afternoon. Seymour and seven other triathletes came to Huntsville to train for the upcoming IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, during the two-week QT2 Ultra-Endurance Pro Camp hosted by Sam Houston State University and the Department of Kinesiology.

         Joshua Yates/The Huntsville Item

North American IRONMAN National Championship winner Angela Naeth finishes up on a kick board after swimming 2,000 meters in the pool on Wednesday afternoon. 

         Joshua Yates/The Huntsville Item

Professional triathlete Jodie Robertson trains in the pool at the Huntsville Aquatic Center on Wednesday afternoon during the QT2 Ultra-Endurance Pro Camp. 


         Joshua Yates/The Huntsville Item

For IRONMAN triathletes, spending a day running, biking and swimming a combined 140.6 miles in less than 17 hours is a pretty good day at the office.

Eight triathletes competing in the IRONMAN World Championship, which will take place in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, on Oct. 8, have made their way to Huntsville to train in Sam Houston State University’s Ultra-Endurance Pro Camp for the event.

The triathletes chose to train in Huntsville because exercising in the Southeast Texas heat and humidity makes for a good simulation of what the climate will be like during the competition in Hawaii.

Despite the muggy weather, the eight female athletes have enjoyed their time in Huntsville.

“For us, training in that heat and humidity is really helpful,” triathlete Heather Leiggi said. “It’s just a good environment to take your performance up to the next level. Huntsville is a great place to train because everything is really centralized. The roads are great for biking and the pool is close by.”

Having been a runner throughout her high school and college careers, Leiggi was looking for a new challenge to test her physical endurance after she graduated.

She found out about triathlons and has dedicated her time to training for them ever since.

“I wanted to do something other than just run,” Leiggi said. “So, I found this crazy thing called triathlon and just decided it sounded like a fun challenge. I fell in love with the sport. I just worked my way up the ranks from there and managed to get to the point where I was good enough to go pro.”

Leiggi has been a professional triathlete for eight years now and is ranked No. 152 in the 2016 Pro Women IRONMAN rankings.

“I have very specific goals that keep me motivated,” Leiggi said. “In my day-to-day training, I’m always thinking about the goals that I want to achieve. We really do love it, too. It seems really, really hard, but it’s fun to push yourself and see how far you can go.”

Not so long ago, Jocelyn McCauley, who is ranked No. 116, had zero interest in triathlons, thinking they were for fitness nuts.

After watching her sister compete in a few IRONMAN races though, she became hooked.

“I thought people who did this were absolutely insane about five years ago,” McCauley said. “My older sister got me into it. She started doing IRONMAN’s and when you do such a long-distance all-day event it’s really nice to have someone there with you. I went to four or five of her races and the atmosphere is so electrifying and addicting in a way. I thought I just have to do one.”

Like Leiggi, McCauley is now a professional triathlete, training between 20 to 30 hours each week so that one day she can call herself an IRONMAN world champion.

McCauley finished with the fastest time of any amateur in the 2014 IRONMAN World Championship and hopes to replicate that success as a pro in this year’s event.

With a 3-year-old daughter to take care of at home, it can be a challenge at times for McCauley to balance her home life and her training.

Much like an unpredictable triathlon, she just tries to take what life throws at her in stride.

“It’s literally a job just with training. I don’t work outside of this, but I am a mom, so that is a full-time job,” McCauley said. “It’s been hard to find the balance. You just do what you can.”

Sam Houston’s Ultra-Endurance Pro Camp has been a sort of homecoming for McCauley, who was born and raised in College Station, where she attended A&M Consolidated High School.

Though she was familiar with how hot summers in Texas can get, McCauley said the first few days of the camp were pretty brutal, as it has been 11 years since she last lived in the state. She currently resides in Cincinnati, Ohio.

“At least I knew what to expect and how awful it is the first couple of days,” McCauley said. “It’s nice to come back and train close to my stomping grounds.”

At least McCauley and Leiggi have six other triathletes to run, swim and bike with in the sweltering August weather.

“To have an awesome group of other girls to train with is amazing and so much fun,” McCauley said. “I’m all alone (when training) at home, so that is a huge difference and boost. Everything feels so much easier when you’re with people.”

Link to article: 6/16/15

Haskins dominant at Ironman 70.3 Eagleman while Raw takes first long course victory at Ironman 70.3 Italy

Text by Jordan Blanco | Image by Simon Hofmann/Getty Images for Ironman



In just her second outing at the Ironman 70.3 distances, American Olympian Sarah Haskins scored her second victory. Heather Leiggi held off a fast closing Sarah Piampiano to place second with Piampiano having to settle for the third and final podium spot.

With the water temperature of the Choptank River at 78.6 degrees, Eagleman was a non-wetsuit swim in 2015. That appeared to favor the swimmers in the women’s field with Lauren Brandon having a race best professional swim of 26:02 with Haskins just over 30 seconds back.

Brandon had a small wager going with her husband Barrett Brandon over the swim: “The non-wetsuit swim was good and I was faster than Barrett. We swim together every day and we had actually talked about who would beat who before the race. Since I beat Barrett, he has to drive us at 5 am two hours to the airport!”

It was over seven minutes later that the third and fourth placed women, Jessica Chong and Leiggi, to arrived in T1.

“I was happy to find some feet to draft off of and thrilled to come out of the water in fourth, even though there was quite a big gap between us and the top two women,” said Leiggi.

On the bike, Haskins set about closing the gap to race leader Brandon and did so during the early miles of the bike leg.

“Sarah caught me at mile 10. She passed me and my goal was just to stay with he,” Brandon said. “She set a great pace and I was happy to sit behind her. I lost contact at the last aid station and was unable to bridge back up.”

Having exited the swim with a huge gap, these two women continued to distance the field on the bike. Leiggi was biking the strongest among the chasers and had moved into third place by the 29.5 mile check. When asked about her ride Leiggi noted, “The bike was pretty lonely but it gave me lots of time to focus on staying cool and getting all my hydration in. It was already getting hot and I knew the run was going to be a scorcher.”

Piampiano was the other mover on the bike course, moving past Chong into fourth place in the early bike miles. Those positions would remain the same for the remainder of the ride with Haskins reaching T1 with less than a minute lead on Brandon.

Onto the run, and the temperatures were climbing. Haskins looked to be comfortable out front, handling the heat well. Behind her Brandon was struggling and was under pressure from the chasers.

Leiggi arrived into T2 in third place, just a few minutes ahead of Piampiano. “I saw Sarah [Piampiano] coming in off the bike as I headed out on the run so I knew I had a few minutes on her but wasn’t sure exactly how much.” said Leiggi. She also acknowledged that it was hot out there on the run course but noted that she loves running in the heat. Her legs also started to come around after the first few miles. “At the turnaround I realized I had made up quite a bit of time on Lauren [Brandon], and that I had the chance to catch her, and that I still had a few minutes on Sarah.”

“The run was very hot. Someone said the heat index was 108 and there wasn’t any shade. The second and third place women, Heather and Sarah, passed me around mile eight and 10. They sure went by me quickly!” Brandon noted.

Haskins was under no pressure at the front of the race and won in a time of 4:16:43 with the race best bike and run splits. Both Leiggi and Piampiano continued through the finish line to take the remaining podium spots. Brandon finished just off the podium in fourth place.

Leiggi was excited with today’s race performance, declaring it one of her better races and being encouraged by the result: “Eagleman has always been one of my favorite races and the field is always competitive so I was thrilled to have finished in second. “ Next up for her is Ironman 70.3 Racine.










Sarah Haskins,






Heather Leiggi,






Sarah Piampiano,






Lauren Brandon,






Molly Roohi,






Jessica Chong,






Alexandra Gordichuk,






Nicole Luse,






Michelle Mighdoll,





Cortland Standard

Xtri Interview 9/16/11

On the Podium: With Heather Leiggi

Heather Leggi is no stranger to the professional triathlon scene. Discovering the sport post graduate school, her background as a soccer player lended itself to a stellar running career, which then built into strong performances as a triathlete.

This season has been somewhat of a breakthrough season for Leiggi with top three performances at Ironman Florida 70.3, Rhode Island 70.3 and solid performances at New Orleans 70.3, Buffalo Springs 70.3 and Rev 3 Quassy, it looks like things are falling into place.

Heading to the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Las Vegas this September, we took a few minutes to pick the brain of this hard working fast charging athlete as she is clearly on the ascent.

Your running career began when you were 10 years old, yet your true love was soccer as a child. Now that you are a professional triathlete, what are some of the lessons that you learned from soccer…if any…do you think help you in multisport?

Soccer was definitely my passion as a child. Had I not moved in 8th grade to a school with no women's soccer team I probably would still be playing soccer. I still miss it but I'm completely happy to have found triathlon! Soccer taught me the love of sport and to love being outside and active. It was soccer that showed me I was a pretty good runner since I was always one of the fastest girls on the field. After my family moved and I couldn't play soccer anymore, running sounded like something I would rock at and have fun with. I do wish I had discovered triathlon a little earlier. I didn't do my first race until after graduate school. While I had run and done a few bike races here and there I had no swimming experience. Needless to say I barely survived the swim part of my first triathlon. Triathlon seemed so low key at the time that I basically taught myself how to swim and just went out there and hoped for the best. I had no idea what I was getting myself into but I definitely loved it. It's great to see the sport grow so much and I love being able to participate in triathlon clinics, coach athletes and offer advice to those who are interested in getting involved into triathlon.

At what point in your amateur career did you decide to turn professional? What helped make that decision for you?

I have always wanted to be an elite athlete in some form or another. When I was a soccer player I dreamed of playing at the top, as a young runner I dreamed of making the Olympics, and when I became a triathlete I had thoughts of racing as a professional. So once I started have some success as an amateur, I realized that racing as a professional might be realistic. I've always loved challenging myself and I love pushing myself to be the best I can be. Turning pro was definitely something I wanted to do and it was the push I needed to step up my game. After winning the Columbia triathlon as an amateur in 2008, I decided to go for it. Looking back I know I would never have been able to reach this level had I not decided to take the leap and become a pro.

You've had several top finishes in 70.3 events, and you are aiming for the 2011 70.3 World Championships. Can you speak about the venue change, what that might mean for you and what your training will be like leading up to the event?

Yes, I love racing the 70.3 distance and have, what seems like very slowly, worked my way up the ranks to a few top finishes last year. With my focus being on the 70.3 distance, it always seems like a good goal to qualify and race at 70.3 World Championships. Honestly I always enjoyed racing in Clearwater. I like flat fast courses and I loved being in Clearwater. With that being said, I am looking forward to racing on a new course and am very happy they moved the World Championship race from November to September. It has always been a struggle staying focused and peaking for race in November. I had many more thoughts about what I was going to be doing after the race was over last year than I should've had even though I tried my best to keep my head focused on the race. Racing in September will make this much easier and after getting in a lot of early season races, I will be able to take a bit of a break before heading into a big build phase for Worlds am I seeing lots of hill work in my future!... Plus, I don't have to feel any pressure going into the World Championships race since no one will ever know my race results… What happens in Vegas, stay in Vegas, right?!

What do you think of the new WTC rules regarding professionals? Has it changed the way you race?

The new WTC rules have given me quite a bit more to think about and organize with regards to my race schedule and probably trying to get in one or 2 more races than I might normally have done. I love to race so I don't mind the extra racing too much but I don't like the feeling of being forced into it. With the points system being new this year, I have no idea how it is going to work out with regards to World Championship slots. I definitely feel a little more pressure when doing the 70.3 races to perform well so I can get more points.

Tell us a little bit about your family!

I have a huge support system when it comes to racing…everyone except for my cat who is really unhappy with me right now for all the time I have been away from home. Seriously though, I would not have been able to get to this level without the continued support and encouragement of my parents. They taught me from a very young age to follow my dreams and to do things that make me happy. They have made a lot of sacrifices, encouraged me to take advantage of important opportunities, and taken a lot of time out of their lives to support me. My husband has been one of the most positive influences to come into my life. While he only dabbles in triathlon himself, he has an amazing understanding of the sport and an impressive way of guiding me in the right directions and knowing what I need to continue to improve. I trust him 100% and knowing that he believe in me has helped get me through the rough times and keep on pushing.

I also need to thank my amazing sponsors for being there for me, especially Zoot Sports. Zoot has been a sponsor of mine since I was an amateur and have stuck with me. They are constantly asking for feedback and looking for ways to make their products better. I particularly love their new wetsuit, the Prophet, and their Ultra TT race shoes. Zeal Optics make some of the coolest sunglasses around and I have so much fun wearing them. They come in so many different colors and styles I never get bored. Ridley is my new bike sponsor for this year and I am absolutely in love with the Ridley Dean. I have had my fastest bike splits yet on it and a trip to the Wind Tunnel in NC helped to make sure it was super aero! GU has also been a long time sponsor of mine and I love the new flavors they have come out with although vanilla is still my favorite. And thanks to Garmin, I have finally started racing with a watch!

You spent some time training in Australia this season, how did that come about and how did that help your fitness coming into 2011?

Lifesport, the group that my coach works for, puts on a camp in Noosa, Australia every year. When I started working with Dan last year, he encouraged me to get to this camp. I had my doubts. I was coming off a disappointing 2009 season and struggling with fitting into the pro scene. I wasn't sure if travelling all the way to Australia for a few weeks of training was going to be worth it and maybe a little scared I wouldn't be able to handle it. I ended up having a great time and really loved the training. Having the chance to train with other professional athletes, have my coaches present for most of workouts, and having no distractions from your training really made a big difference. I was still a little overwhelmed with the quantity and volume of the workouts and by the end of the 2 weeks I was ready to come home and have a rest! Regardless, the camp really did help me and I started off my season much better than I would have hoped. When it came time for camp again this year, I was onboard immediately. I was super excited to go and had even given myself an extra week over there. What really shocked at camp this year what a different experience I had. I could tell I was a completely different athlete than I had been the year before. The training was hard as always and the workouts were long but I handled the work so much better and could feel myself getting stronger and faster as the camp progressed. It gave me perspective on how far I had come and a lot of confidence going into this years' race season.

Tell us a bit about your coach Dan Smith of Lifesport.

Working with Dan has made a world of difference in my racing. He definitely had his work cut out for him when I came to him in the end of 2009. My confidence had taken a huge beating throughout the prior season and while I stubbornly refused to give up on myself, I really doubted my abilities to compete at the elite level. I like the fact that Dan is very thorough and detail oriented. He is able to sort through all the data and feedback I give him from my workouts and races and know what tweaks need to be made and what the next steps need to be. We are constantly tweaking and rearranging my schedule in order to keep the improvements coming. Dan has also taught me how to be a smarter racer. I used to just go out there and race as hard as I could and hope for the best. Dan taught me about race strategy, how to race more in control and all the little things I can do to that will really pay off. As he keeps telling me, at this level, it's often the small things that are most important.

In May you had an amazing race at Florida 70.3 against a field that included Cait Snow and Nina Kraft. Tell us a bit about your race and what a top 3 podium finish means to you.

Well, I can tell you it is a dream come true and one of the best moments of my sporting career so far. I had set a goal of finishing in the top 3 this season so to have done it in my second race of the year was amazing. Time to re-write some goals! While the race itself ended well, it did not go quite as well as I had hoped (they rarely do!). After a terrible swim which put me several minutes down on most of the women, I thought I'd be lucky to even finish in the top 5. I am not that unfamiliar to coming out of the water with a bit of ground to make up so while I didn't exactly panic when I headed off on the bike, I wasn't exactly thrilled either. I love to bike and thanks to a strong bike leg which turned out to be the second fastest of the day, I managed to move me into 5th place, right behind Cait. This was my first race on my new bike, my Ridley Dean, and it felt amazing. I knew I didn't have much of change to catch her and there were several women hot on my heels though. I was a little worried since my nutrition had been off thanks to some stomach issues I was having but was determined to at least hold onto my 5th place. I was halfway through the run and still feeling surprisingly good when I noticed I was making up quite a bit of ground on the 4th place woman and was not far behind her. I decided to go after her. I caught her around mile 10 and then ½ mile from the finish line I caught the 3rd place woman whom I hadn't seen ahead of me. I could not believe I had managed to run myself into 3rd place and was so ecstatic crossing the finishing line. It was especially gratifying to see my run finally coming around which I have been working really hard to improve. Coming from a running background makes me expect more from my running. Swimming is a whole nother story though!

Thanks Heather for allowing us a peek into your life!

Mary Eggers is a 37 year old age group triathlete, race announcer, writer, mother, wife, triathlon coach, yoga teacher, and nurse. As the race announcer for the Score This Multisport Series in Upstate New York, she's been in the sport for over 15 years. She's a 6 time Ironman finisher and Kona qualifier, and has raced everything from sprint upward. Mother to 10 year old Luc, wife to Curt, she calls Rochester NY home.

NBC news Sherox Triathlon 2010

Main Line Times, 10/26/10

Main Line triathlete to compete against world's best

By Bruce Adams

Bryn Mawr resident Heather Leiggi, coming off four first-place finishes in triathlons this year, is looking forward to competing against the top women triathletes in the world at the 70.3 Ironman World Championships in Clearwater, Fla., Nov. 13.  Not bad for someone who, a decade ago, was “scared to death of swimming” at the start of her first triathlon, outside Harrisburg.  “My swim training [to that point] involved me jumping in the pool and hoping I made it to the other side,” said Leiggi. “I survived, and after having such a great time at my first race, I decided to keep doing triathlons.”

This year, Leiggi finished as the sixth-best American at the U.S. Pro Ironman 70.3 National Championships, and was sixth overall at Eagleman Ironman 70.3, where she qualified for the 70.3 Ironman World Championships.
  Two years ago, Leiggi decided to start racing as a professional triathlete.  “At first, I wasn’t quite prepared for all of the changes,” said Leiggi. “The whole feel of racing pro is a lot different. As an amateur, it was pretty much a guarantee that if I passed someone during the race, I would never see them again. As a pro, if I pass someone, they will either stick with me as long as possible, or allow me to pass them only to come back and pass me right back. This requires a lot more toughness, both physically and mentally.  “The pro fields are a lot smaller - both your good moments and bad moments are out there for everyone to see and it can be quite overwhelming. I found that I spent a lot more time, especially in the longer races, by myself or with one or two other women. [As an amateur] there was no better feeling than flying by a bunch of people who had started in the wave ahead of you. [As a pro] I was lucky if I passed more than one or two women, and there were times when I would be racing where I wouldn’t see another competitor for miles. It is often intimidating and scary, but I love the challenge.”

In 2008, Leiggi finished 25th at the 70.3 Ironman World Championships. The following year, she finished third in the Danskin Women’s Triathlon in Philadelphia and won two races (Skinnyman Triathlon and Cape Henelopen).

In 2009, she also secured a sponsorship with Zoot Sports and modeled in a fashion show for Women Empowering Women, an event to raise money for Project H.O.M.E. (which helps women get out of poverty and homelessness).
  “Getting sponsorships in triathlon is challenging no matter what your level or experience,” said Leiggi. “I was fortunate as an amateur in 2007 to get hooked up with Zoot through a local hero sponsorship they offer to elite amateur athletes, thanks to Chip Homier at (Wayne-based) High Road Cycles. Through that association, I was able to get sponsored as a professional and have been racing on the Zoot Ultra Team ever since.”  Leiggi also is sponsored by Orbea, GU, Zipp, Zeal Optics, Alcis, Suunto and Fuel Belt, who take care of most of her equipment needs.

The Bryn Mawr resident continues to work as a physical therapist at Pain Relief and Physical Therapy in Havertown.
  “They have been very flexible with my schedule, allowing me to take off for races and training camps,” said Leiggi. “I spent three weeks in Australia in March, training with my coaches’ other professional triathletes. But, it is still a challenge to squeeze all my training in around my work schedule.”

Prior to the start of the 2010 season, Leiggi signed on with Dan Smith at Lifesport Coaching. Leiggi also coaches several triathletes, including several from the Main Line.
  “Race strategy was never something I put a lot of faith in, but I’ve learned that having a race plan and executing it properly can result in an entirely different outcome,” said Leiggi, who ran on the cross-country and track teams at Bucknell University. “I’ve been able to chase down some pretty fast women in the last six miles of a run and finish a lot higher up than I would have if I had biked hard or run hard early on in the race.”

Leiggi has given talks at Danzeisen and Quigley’s Triathlon Night, and at the Mullica Hill Triathlon Club.
  “I get some pretty interesting questions [from the audience], but most of them involve the logistics of race day,” said Leiggi. “Competing in your first triathlon can be pretty intimidating since you are putting together three different sports back-to-back with no break. How you make the transition from each sport and all the equipment that is needed is a lot to grasp the first time around. I do recommend that athletes who have never done a triathlon before go try to observe one before they participate in one. This gives you a great understanding of the flow of the race.”

Leiggi competes in half-Ironmans (70.3 miles), and hasn’t competed in a full Ironman yet (which is 140.6 miles).
  “The half-Ironman distance plays to my strengths, with a larger percentage of time being spent on the bike and little less time in the water,” said Leiggi.

One of the most interesting courses Leiggi raced on was three years ago, at the Best of the U.S. National Championship Triathlon at Cypress Gardens in Winter Haven, Fla.
  “It was probably the most unique course I have raced on, since it was inside Cypress Gardens’ amusement park,” said Leiggi. “Imagine swimming around ski jumps and running around rollercoasters and water-slides.”

Leiggi’s husband Jason also participates in triathlons – as an amateur.
  “I have been fortunate to have a lot of [family] support with triathlon,” said Leiggi. “My Dad was the one who suggested I try a triathlon and helped me get ready for it. My parents continue to be very involved in my racing and come to a lot of races still. I definitely would not be where I am today without Jason’s support and advice. He is constantly helping to guide me and push me to become the athlete I want to be. He was the one who originally suggested I get a coach, which changed the direction of my triathlon career. He is able to see things that I often can’t - like when I need to take some time off, which usually is because I am getting really cranky. We usually try to pick a few races a year in fun places, so we can enjoy traveling and do some sightseeing.”

Main Line Times, 10/24/07

Bryn Mawr's Leiggi thriving on triathlons

by Bruce Adams

ARDMORE– When Bryn Mawr resident Heather Leiggi competed in her first triathlon eight years ago, she was frightened."I was scared to death of the swim, since my swim training involved me jumping in the pool and hoping I made it to the other side," said Leiggi.  Leiggi hung in there, however, and completed the event – a small sprint triathlon outside of Harrisburg.  "I survived, and after having such a great time at my first race, I decided to keep doing triathlons," said Leiggi.

She began to compete on a national and international level; and earlier this month, Leiggi took sixth place in the Best of the U.S. National Championship Triathlon at Cypress Gardens in Winter Haven, Fla.  Leiggi, a member of the Wayne-based HighRoad Cycles Multisport Team, represented Pennsylvania in the international distance triathlon, which consisted of a 1.5K swim in Lake Eloise, a 40K bike race and a 10K run. She completed the triathlon event in an impressive 2:15:07.  "It was probably the most unique course I have raced on, since it was inside Cypress Gardens' amusement park," said Leiggi. "Imagine swimming around ski jumps and running around rollercoasters and water-slides."  The Best of the U.S. triathlon takes a male and female triathlete from each state and holds the race in an open class format (no age groups).  Leiggi has been the only female to represent Pennsylvania the past two years. The Bryn Mawr resident qualified by winning the amateur race at the Philadelphia Triathlon last year.


Recently, Leiggi spoke of her experiences in the Philadelphia Triathlon on a local radio show. "It was the first triathlon in Philadelphia in many years, and they wanted my views on how the race was [run] compared to other triathlons – and I think I tried to assure people the Schuylkill River really is safe," said Leiggi, with a smile.  "I had a blast speaking on the show. I was able to share my experiences with other people, a lot of whom were new to triathlon, and hopefully it will encourage people to get involved."

Leiggi, who ran for the cross-country and track teams at Bucknell University, hoped to continue her running career after college, but wanted to try something a little different – hence, her entry into triathlons.  "Surprisingly enough, cycling has been my strongest event [of the three]," said Leiggi. "I did compete in some junior cycling races in high school so I had a little experience – I definitely enjoy cycling the most. I've been on some absolutely beautiful rides with great scenery and I love the feeling of speeding down the road on my bike!  "Swimming is the event I need the most work on. I have improved significantly since my first race after many lessons, critiques, and tough workouts, but I continue to struggle with it."

Asked if she had a favorite triathlon course, Leiggi replied, "It's really hard to pick just one race that stands out above others since I have so much fun every time I race. The races that stick in my mind are the ones where everything comes together from beginning to end – this year, the Eagleman 70.3 Triathlon was one of those races.  "The conditions were great and the course was flat and fast. A lot of my family and friends were there to cheer me on, as well as a lot of my team members from HighRoad Cycles Multisport Team, which always makes it more fun."

Leiggi planned to turn professional earlier this year; however, she wanted to compete in the amateurs-only Best of the U.S. triathlon this month, and will postpone turning pro until next year.  Another of her goals this year was to qualify for the 70.3 World Championships; which she did in addition to qualifying for the ITU Olympic Distance World Championships for both 2007 (in Hamburg, Germany) and 2008 (in Vancouver, Canada).  However, Leiggi, who works at Advanced Health and Fitness in Narberth, will not be attending the 70.3 World Championships because her husband Jason will be racing at Ironman Florida the prior week.

Skaneateles Journal, 9/4/07

Triathletes compete in annual Skinnyman competition in and around Skaneateles Lake

By Erik Sorensen / Skaneateles Journal

SKANEATELES - With the autumn-like air without a hint of haze and the deep blue-green water showing the faintest of ripples, Skaneateles Lake and the surrounding countryside never looked more lovely than it did Saturday morning during the third annual Skinnyman triathlon.  “It's such a nice day. I really lucked out for my first time in a triathlon. Isn't this just beautiful?” asked Auburn native Kara Hoselton, just after her picture was taken by in-laws Coleen and Neil Hoselton as she stood on the pier at Clift Park.A record field of 450 triathletes competed in the Skinnyman - an 800-yard swim, followed by a 15-mile bicycle section, and then a three-mile run.  The race began promptly at 8 a.m. at the park, and for men's winner Matt Migonis, of Cazenovia, it ended just a little more than one hour and five minutes later.

Heather Leiggi took the top prize in the women's division - and a lake print from photographer John McCarthy - finishing an impressive eighth overall with a time of 1:12.11. Her parents live in Cortland.  “It went really well. It was a great swim course - the water was really clear, and it was really calm,” Leiggi said.  “And the bike was also really nice. No traffic, but it was actually hillier than I thought it was going to be. It was pretty challenging, but it was a good course.”

Leiggi, 32, is a world-class athlete. She qualified for the Short Course Triathlon World Championships in Germany this past weekend and will compete next month in the Best of U.S. Amateur Triathlete Championship & Festival at Cypress Gardens Adventure Park in Winter Haven, Fla. Each of the 50 states has a male and female representative, and Leiggi, a Philadelphia native, will be representing the Keystone State.

Hoselton is the daughter of Auburn attorney Paul Carbonaro and his wife, Kathy. She and her husband, Trevor, live in Stafford, Conn., where he is in the Marine Corps.  “This is actually my first triathlon. I was a swimmer in college,” said Hoselton, 24, who competed in the 100 butterfly, relays, and other events her coach slotted her in while at Le Moyne College. “I am a swimmer, so I was a little disappointed in my swim. I thought I'd be more conditioned in the water, and I actually felt really tight.”  Hoselton finished 128th overall with a time of 1:29.23.  Her mentor this summer was Bridget Dautrich. Hoselton used to work at Daut's, the family's restaurant in Auburn, and she and her father were frequent guests - sometimes grabbing a quick snack through the back kitchen door - when husband Kevin Dautrich was co-owner of Cassidy's restaurant in the early 1990s.  “She took me on a lot of bike rides, on a lot of runs. Bridget blew her tire out on O'Neil Road, though, so she had to walk her bike back,” Hoselton said. “I really felt terrible for her. She helped me out so much this summer.”The Skinnyman, along with the Escape from the Judge swim Saturday and 5K run Sunday, is put on by a committee that has approximately 15 members and meets once a month year-round.  Saturday's race director was Michael Parker, of Skaneateles. A triathlete himself, Parker has competed in the world-famous Ironman Triathlon in Kono, Hawaii, on six occasions.  “The race couldn't have gone better. Wonderful support from our sponsors; the organizers and volunteers did a great job. The weather was unbelievable. Just nothing but good,” Parker said.