Racers overcome rain Sunday to compete in Rodney T. Miller Triathlon

DECATUR--  The 2014 Rodney T. Miller Triathlon had a new obstacle on Sunday that the previous 7 races didn’t; rain.
Like much of the Midwest over the weekend, Central Illinois was not spared heavy rainfall on Saturday and Sunday morning.  Several inches of rain overnight and the chance of an impending storm on Sunday morning was enough reason for race organizers to cancel the swimming portion of the triathlon and turn the race into a duathlon that included running and biking only.
“As we began working on the race this morning it was still dry but as we moved closer and closer to the 7 a.m. start time the rain began coming down harder and harder and with some lightning in the distance we thought it would be in everyone’s best interest to cancel the swimming portion of the race,” Race Director Gene Mueller said.  “Adjusting the course is obviously something we don’t want to do but for the safety of the volunteers and especially the participants we thought it was the right course of action today.”
Because the swim was canceled the racers began the morning with a one-mile sprint before getting on their bikes and trekking the 19 miles throughout Nelson Park.  After the bike ride, racers then ran 4.5 miles to the finish line located in the parking lot near the Beach House Restaurant.
This year’s race was won by Cincinnati, Ohio native Kevin Ryan, who finished the race in 1 hour, 13 minutes, and 31 seconds.  Following Ryan in second place was another Cincinnati runner, Colin Riley, who finished the race in 1 hour, 13 minutes, and 44 seconds, and in 3rd place was Justin Roeder, who finished in 1 hour, 16 minutes, and 39 seconds.  A full list of participants and winners can be found here.
Following his win, the 2nd year professional said he was a little nervous about running and riding on the wet pavement, “Swimming is my best section so when they announced this morning that the swimming portion of the race was going to be eliminated I was a bit nervous.  I swam collegiately and I’m confident I am one of the best swimmers in the field so when they took that away I knew I would have to step up my game in the running portion.”
Ryan says he began his career as a professional runner and triathlete in 2012, he ran one of his first races at the Rodney T. Miller in 2013 and has since come into his own, “I train about 30 hours a week for races, I go all over the country to race and this win marks aback to back wins for me this weekend.”  Ryan raced in, and won a triathlon in Ohio on Saturday before driving to Decatur to compete on Sunday.
The Rodney T. Miller Triathlon has been held every year since 2006 and is held in memory of Rodney T. Miller, a former Eisenhower and Millikin University Athlete, and former Illinois State Police Sergeant.  Miller played several sports during his time at Millikin; he was named the Illinois Swimmer Association Swimmer of the Year 4 times and in 1987 he was named the Herald and Review’s Athlete of the Year.