In first Escape triathlon, Haskins takes home women’s title 

Sarah Haskins had never competed in an Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon before Sunday, and she was somewhat surprised by the 1.5-mile swim portion that kicks off the race.

Particularly that entry into San Francisco Bay, near Alcatraz, off the back of a boat.

“I was doing jumping jacks to get my heart rate up,” Haskins said of her preparation for the icy plunge.

But Haskins, a seasoned triathlete with Olympic experience (’08 Beijing), adjusted with aplomb and coasted to a first-place finish in the women’s race on Sunday morning with a time of 2 hours, 17 minutes and 42 seconds. Mirinda Carfrae, dubbed “The Pocket Rocket,” came in second at 2:18.05. Ricarda Lisk finished third in 2:18.52.

“The water wasn’t as cold as I was expecting,” Haskins said. “I mean, it was cold, but it wasn’t that cold.”

Haskins ripped off a 28:15 time for the swim, which she began alongside the elite men’s performers. She considers it to be her strongest of the three disciplines in the triathlon.

“To be honest, I was just following Andy [Potts, the men’s winner on Sunday],” Haskins said. “I know you’re not supposed to do that, but that was my gameplan.

As she finished her 18-mile bike ride, Haskins had opened a 1:45 lead heading into the 8-mile run. At that point, Carfrae was in fourth place, 4 minutes off the pace, before reeling in two runners to finish in second.

“The toughest part was the downhill running,” Haskins said, “but once I got on the flat trails, for that final mile and a half, that’s when the race really began for me.”

Compared with other triathlons she’s participated in, Haskins found San Francisco to be different — but in a good way.

“It’s unique, and that makes it special,” said Haskins. “There’s all the history, and then for the start, you’re getting into a boat!”

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Matthew Snyder

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