Pro triathlete Marybeth Ellis goes full circle to win Dave Reynolds Biathlon

Sean Saxton records day’s fastest time to grab overall title
July 9, 2021

The annual Dave Reynolds Biathlon was held July 4, with two waves of athletes diving into the water two minutes apart for the half-mile ocean swim to kick off the 30th annual celebration. Athletes are broken into divisions of individual open for male and female, and teams of male, female, coed and youth 13 & under. There was also a kids’ mini biathlon that started off the day and a two-mile memory walk held on the Boardwalk during the main event.

“We have always supported this event going back into the mid-80s, and it is a great community event,” said Derek Shockro of Rehoboth Beach Patrol. “Our guards assist with safety in the water and help with crowd control on the beach and the Boardwalk.”

Marybeth Ellis, a 44-year-old master, won the women’s race and finished seventh overall in 31:22 with an 11:19 swim and 20:03 5K. Ellis was a dominant competitor in the biathlon in the early ’90s, many times being the first to exit the water regardless of how many waves there were. Ellis attended the Lawrenceville School of New Jersey and competed in swimming and track & field before moving on to Northwestern University outside Chicago. From college, Ellis became a pro triathlete in 2006, when she won 11 Ironmans and one world title. Ellis retired in 2016 as an American long-distance triathlete. She holds the record for the fastest iron-distance race by an American woman, set at Ironman Austria in 2011 with a time of 8:43:34.

“It was fun to come back and compete in this race where I got my start in multi-sport events,” said Ellis, who still holds the course record in the biathlon of 28:28 from 1993. She is loving her new chapter as mom, wife and coach, and everyone in Rehoboth Beach was pleased to see her return and win the title.

Grace Dohl of Newark left transition with a minute lead, but could not hold off Ellis on the run. Dohl ran the 5K in 22:15 to finish in 32:42 for second, while Elizabeth Klingensmith of Uniontown, Pa., was third in 33:20.

Sean Saxton won the overall men’s title. The Dover resident was out of the water two minutes behind defending 2019 champion Alexander Geiersbach of Rehoboth, who had a 9:50 swim. Saxton, who won the championship in 2018, was out of the water in 11:25, but followed it with a 5K of 16:40 to catch Geiersbach with just over a half-mile to go. He powered on to win the title in a time of 28:04, with Geiersbach second in 28:23. Augie Carlozzi of Wilmington was third in 30:54. Saxton, a former standout at Dover High in track & field, just missed making the all-time top five list by four seconds.

Matt Dunn of Trappe, Md., won the male masters in 31:20, while Paula Pels of Bethesda, Md., won the female masters in 36:41.

Medals were presented to all finishers in celebration of the 30th annual event that happens every Fourth of July in the Nation’s Summer Capital of Rehoboth Beach.

Striders Double Dose

The Striders will produce their second double-event weekend in a row, as the 14th Race for the Ribbon 5K will be held at 7:30 a.m., Saturday, July 10, beginning at Wilmington Avenue and the Boardwalk; then the second annual Beebe Heroes 5K will begin from Irish Eyes Lewes at 7:30 a.m, Sunday, July 11. Parking for the Beebe event will be behind the Beacon Motel as well as at Lewes Beach. Registration is still open for both events at Runners are encouraged to give themselves extra time to park, check in and get to the start for the Beebe event, as a large crowd is expected.  


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