WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., Conn. – White Plains triathlete Joanne Dondero finished third in her age group Saturday at the U.S.A. Triathlon Age Group Championships in Milwaukee.
Dondero, who coaches athletes for Greenwich Triathlon Club, competed in the women’s 65-69 age group.
“This was my ‘A’ race this year, and I wanted to do better than my previous two Olympic distance races this year,’’ said Dondero, 66. “I wanted to get close to three hours, and I was shooting for the top five in my age group. I was happy with my time and finishing third was a big surprise to me.”
Dondero completed the course in 3:00:37. Sandy Maneley of Holmes Beach, Fla. Won in 2:51:26 and Sandra Holben of Michigan took second. The race consisted of a 1.5 kilometer (.93 mile) swim, 40k (24.8 mile) bike ride and 10k (6.2 mile) run.
Dondero was the only athlete from Westchester or Fairfield counties to reach the podium at nationals in either the Sprint or Olympic distance events. Area triathletes have been contenders in the previous two competitions in Vermont, but few made the trip to Milwaukee.
“I couldn’t do it last year because it was too close to some Ironman races I was doing,’’ said Dondero, who qualified to represent the United States at next year's World Triathlon Championships in Edmonton. “This year I had the wiggle room to compete. I had always been interested in longer distance races, but I’m taking it easier this year. It just kind of worked out.”
Dondero began competing in triathlons in 1987 and has competed in more than 100 races of all distances. She said coaching triathletes has helped her stay as an athlete.
“I like saying that I talk the talk but I can also walk the walk,’’ Dondero said. “It’s inspiring coaching triathletes. I’m happy that I’m still able to do it at 66 years old. Even though I’ve had some injuries, I have some good people around me like Dr. Andrew Haas. He keeps putting me back together, and giving me good advice.”