-Jeremy Obrand places fifth at Junior European Cup in Lithuania-


DALLAS—Canada’s Russell Pennock had a race for the memory books after winning his first international triathlon title as a senior athlete. Pennock ran to the gold medal in the men’s race at the CAMTRI Sprint Triathlon American Cup in Dallas on Saturday.

With flooding waters in Texas causing sewer pipes to leak and contaminate the water, organizers changed the original sprint race format to a duathlon – five-kilometre run, followed by a 20-kilometre bike and 2.5-kilometre run.

Calgary’s 19-year-old Pennock took advantage of the changes to clock a winning time of 54:08.

“It was definitely a good day out there. I could not be happier,” beamed Pennock, who is the brother to elite team athlete Ellen Pennock and was competing in his first event since breaking his thumb this spring at a Continental Cup race in Sarasota, Florida.

“I was so excited coming into the finish chute. I couldn’t believe I won my first race, and my first time back from injury. I am really ecstatic. I had not toed the start line in two months. This was a really good confidence boost for me going into the rest of the season.”

Battling through the extreme southern heat, Pennock tried to remain as cool as possible with water and sponges. He was successful, forming into a pack of one dozen athletes before heading into the first transition where they went onto the bike in one large group. Keeping a gap from the chase group, Pennock settled in with the lead pack where he prepped himself for a fast final run.

“The weather was so hot and it definitely played a factor. We held off the chase pack and kept the pace steady throughout the whole bike,” said Pennock. “I knew the second run was going to be over shortly so I came out of second transition trying to keep my run cadence high. I got into second spot quickly and sat on the lead guy’s shoulder until the final kilometre.”

Pennock held off two American athletes who finished second and third. Sean Jefferson grabbed the silver at 54:18, while Jason West settled for the bronze with a time of 54:22.

Other Canadian men’s finishes included: Taylor Forbes in 13th (57:43); Gabriel Legault in 16th (58:37); Brent Paulson placed 19th at 59:02; while Reid Burrows was 24th (1:00:18) and Patrick Howell finished 29th (1:04:29).

Meanwhile, Edmonton’s Alexandra Gordichuk was the top Canuck in the women’s race. Gordichuk placed eighth with a time of 1:03:55.

The Americans sweeped the women’s podium. Erin Jones finished on top with a time of 1:00:43. Summer Cook was second at 1:01:30, while Calah Schlabach rounded out the women’s podium in third with a time of 1:02:24.

Other Canadian women’s results included: Margaret Bailey in 12th at 1:06:21; Adeleine Maunder in 15th at 1:07:11; and Leanne Lee placing 16th (1:07:45). Severine Bouchez did not finish.

Across the pond, Canada’s Jeremy Obrand and Emy Legault, hit the start line for a Junior European Cup race in Kupiskis, Lithuania.

Obrand, a student-athlete in Montreal, finished fifth in the junior men’s sprint race with a time of 59:54. Israel’s Omri Bahat set the time to beat at 58:33.

Emy Legault, of Ile Perrot, Que., did not finish the women’s sprint race. Israel’s Yuval Gome won the women’s event with a time of 1:08:19.