2017 Camp Athletes Share ‘Best Moments of the Year’

With the end of the year fast approaching, it’s always fun to look back at that one best moment that made all the training hours, the early mornings, and the digging deep worth it during the previous 12 months.

And so it gives us great pleasure to share some of the best sporting moments of the 2017 Solvang athletes, who accomplished some amazing feats. Thanks to everyone who shared their best moment of 2017 and many congratulations to all; what a huge array of accomplishments and range of events. Inspiring stuff as we roll into 2018!!

Sean Carlson at the finish line of Ironman Santa Rosa! One very special best moment.

Sean Carlson, Santa Barbara, CA: I completed my first Ironman in July 2017 at Ironman Santa Rosa…this was my major accomplishment and camp was one of the things that really helped me understand what I needed to do to accomplish my goal. I had a great swim and bike, but had a terrible run but completed my goal.

Jenna post race 70.3 Lake Placid

Jenna Hannigan, Bethesda, MD: This year’s accomplishment that I will look back on and smile… “my first Ironman 70.3 at the first Ironman 70.3 at Lake Placid with my friend and fellow camper, Trish, Coincidentally, I wore my camp jersey for this race!



Dan hitting 6:31’s this year on the run

Dan Wheeler, San Francisco, CA: 2017 was a year of making progress on the run, which included a 6:31 / mile pace in a 5K, running the Double Dipsea in 2:43 as part of the Dolphin Club Escape from Alcatraz and placing 6th in my age group in the North Face Challenge half marathon.



Mike finishing Hawaii Ironman!

Mike Pierson, Neenah, WI: Best day was finally being able to run in mid August and finishing Iron-man Hawaii in October with my wife as a competitor too. Saw Mike Ricci there as well at finish.




Mike qualifying for the 70.3 Ironman World Champs

Mike Davis, Boulder, CO: At Ironman 70.3 North Carolina this year I PR’d by about 15 min for a 4:34 finishing time and also landed a qualifying spot to 70.3 Worlds in South Africa in 2018.




Trish all smiles post race at Ironman Santa Rosa!

Trish McDonough, Washington, DC: The highlight of my 2017 season was IM Santa Rosa  – I finished with a smile on my face, and had a fantastic day all around.  The rest of my season was great too, ending with Lake Placid 70.3, which was a great day.




Molly winning her first Ironman outright!!! WHAT?! Fab!

Molly Smith, Denver, CO: My best moment of the 2017 season was winning Ironman Maryland. 🙂





Dana post race at Ironman Chattanooga

Dana Platin, Denver, CO: My highlight in 2017- I raced the IronMan in Chattanooga, Tennessee, my greatest achievement during this 144.6 mile journey was my ability to shift my mindset from fear, fret and failure to gratitude, grit and grace along the 2.4 mile swim, 116 mile bike, and 26.2 mile run. I have been training, racing and climbing mountains for two decades, regardless of my experience, I have a tendency to allow the voice of self-doubt to take over which can negatively impact my performance. My post-race report, doesn’t focus much on the cadence, power, watts, and pacing I used on the race course yet the mental skills training I put to practice during this great quest. Ironman Chattanooga Gratitude, Grit, & Grace

Dave on his way to a 70.3 PR in North Carolina

Dave Donoghue, Oak Park, IL: My PR at North Carolina 70.3 where I PR’ed each event, had a huge PR for the distance and missed a sub-5:00 time by ten seconds running a 5:00:09.




Vicki hanging tough at Petra Desert Marathon

Vicki Chia, Riverside City: I am rather proud of a foolish endeavor I partook in this summer – the Petra Desert Marathon. Foolish because although I was studying in Jordan and attempting to train for a full Ironman (which I did not do in the end), I was not nearly well enough trained to do a full marathon, but I let some runner girlfriends – also not properly trained – talk me into signing up *the day before*. I didn’t even have any gels with me! So it was crazy, and the hottest, most hellish, hilly race I’ve ever done in the Bedouin desert, and I finished with only 12 minutes to spare (at about 6:48), but I finished! And felt good the day afterwards. 🙂 So that’s my story.

Anne on her way to becoming WORLD CHAMP!!

Anne Viviani, Arlington, VA: My best moment of 2017 was winning gold at the Long Course World Triathlon Championships in Penticton, B.C. Canada. The world event is now a festival of five races held in the same week. I had already raced Duathlon Worlds, finishing 4th, and Aquathlon Worlds, finishing 5th. I have had a nagging lower back problem for most of the season so had no great expectations for this race. The distances for this event were about a 2 mile swim, 78 mile bike and 18 mile run. I was last out of the water, per usual, but I had a good two loops on the bike and was in second place by the end of the bike. I passed Shirley, the NZ athlete who was in first, a few miles into the run. My back spasmed about this point and I tried to run/walk with the idea that if I saw my competition I would try to pick it up to stay ahead. Fortunately her run/walk was much slower than mine and I made it to the end and ran across the finish line.

Dan dipping under 11 hours at Ironman Choo!

Dan Houser, Denver, CO: My highlight of my 2017 race season was finishing a solid IM Choo under 11:00 hours with a 49 min swim – with a little help from the current- but hey it’s still a PR!




Alaska Bob – punching his ticket to Kona

Bob Smith (Alaska Bob) Golden, CO by way of Alaska: I finished second at IM Wisconsin. At the awards ceremony I found out there was only one slot for Kona. I figured I would have to wait until I aged up in 2018 to qualify. While waiting to go on stage, the athlete who took first place told me that he was not taking the slot. I must have shook his hand five different times (I may have hugged him too!). That was my best for 2017.

Coach Matt guiding Erich to a world record!

Coach Matt Smith: Mine would be guiding a visually impaired athlete to a new Ironman world record time at IM Maryland.





Coach Mike, a very proud dad.

Coach Mike Ricci: I enjoyed watching my son race this year as a 7 year old. He did one triathlon, hardly practiced but a few laps in the pool, but absolutely went as hard as he could from the start of the swim to the finish of the run. He gave it everything he had and I didn’t even think he cared that much. He’s a competitor and it was thrilling to see him have that drive (nature not nurture). 🙂


Tim setting a PR on two wheels at 14,000ft

Staff Tim Murakami: Best sporting moment of ‘17 was setting a PR racing Mt. Evans. I was happy with the result after ACL surgery seven months prior. Although I wanted to do better, I paced the climb well. The altitude just got the best of me. The descent was fun too! It was really great to see Dave experience the event too. He was so stoked to finish and did really well.


Chris digging deep for a masters world championship medal.

Run Coach Chris Grauch: My best sporting moment of 2017 was winning a bronze medal at Masters World Mountain Running Championships.




Coach Peter Reid: My sporting moment of the year, kiteboarding, returning to the same spot I launched my kite. It reminded me a lot of the first time I completed Ironman. I really struggled with Ironman in the beginning. Eventually I managed to slowly figure it out and excelled at it. I am still a newbie at kiteboarding but Ironman has taught me to be patient.

Thanks to everyone who shared their sporting best moment. We wish all athletes a fantastic 2018. Enjoy where your fitness takes you. Inspiring stuff indeed!!