Derrek Matson's background in cross country running, Nordic skiing and track and field came in handy.
The senior paced Saturday's Brainerd High School triathlon with a class-record overall time of 4 hours, 26 minutes, 46 seconds. That clocking eclipsed last year's record of 4:30.58 set by Matt DesMarais.
"That helped a lot," Matson said of his experience in three sports that emphasize distance. "A lot of it was mental too. Now I know I can run longer distances."
John VanLandschoot was runner-up at 4:40.46 and Alex Impola was third at 4:44.17.
Derrek Matson's running experience helped him win the triathlon.
Matson thought doing various events enabled him to complete the grueling one-mile swim, 50-mile bike ride and 10-mile run.
"You're using different muscles, so that helps a little," he said, "and I guess you get a little rest when you switch between the (swim and bike)."
Matson's swim went better than he anticipated. Scott Lykins was the fastest swimmer at 23:42.
"I was next to one of the better swimmers (Lykins)," Matson said. "He said (DesMarais) couldn't cheer for him, so he cheered for me instead."
Matson got off to a good start in the bike event, which was paced by Impola at 2:33.18.
"Then I kind of died the last couple laps," he said. "I just tried to keep it going, not get too far behind for the run."
Running is where Matson's distance proficiency kicked in. He's accustomed to running 5,000 meters in cross country, skiing 5 kilometers and running 800 and 1600 meters in track. Matson was the fastest runner at 1:10.39.
"I couldn't believe I ran that fast for that long," Matson said. "That surprised me."
The annual event was conducted in windy and cool conditions. After completing the swim in the BHS pool, the event shifted to Baxter for loops around County Road 48, Evergreen Drive and Foley Road, culminating at Loren Thompson Park.
"When we did our practice training it was usually really windy," Matson said. "When we did it Saturday the wind was not too bad. There were a couple bad spots, like at Home Depot where we turned. That was the worst part of the wind. Other than that, it was not too bad."
Overall (61 miles)
1-Derrek Matson 4:26.46, 2-John VanLandschoot 4:40.46, 3-Alex Impola 4:44.17, 4-Ty Hunt 4:45.37, 5-Tony Roberts 4:47.08
6-Travis Rose 4:49.52, 7-Scott Lykins 4:49.58, 8-Sam Gervais 4:57.25, 9-Joe Holden 5:00.34, 10-Gregg Day 5:04.55
11-Wes Hendrickson 5:26.28, 12-Charles Smith 5:28.18, 13-Nick Edwards 5:29.57, 14-Brian Lamb 5:31.09, 15-Tim Spaulding 5:41.59, 16-David Engel 5:52.37, 17-Kevin O'Grady 6:06.35
Swim (one mile) -- 1-Lykins 23:42, 2-Rose 26:35, 3-Gervais 27:58
Bike (50 miles) -- 1-Impola 2:33.18, 2-VanLandschoot 2:33.44, 3-Roberts 2:39.14
Run (10 miles) -- 1-Matson 1:10.39, 2-Rose 1:16.02, 3-Hunt 1:20.04
Mike Bialka can be reached at email@example.com or at 855-5861.
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