LENOX -- Kent Lemme hadn't won an Ironman competition at the Great Josh Billings RunAground since 2010. On Sunday, though, he picked up another win and put his name into the record books.
Lemme's time of 2 hours, 35 minutes, 23 seconds not only set a record for the fastest kayak Ironperson, but it was also a faster time than any canoe Ironman, including Lemme's winning time in 2010 of 2:42:10. He won that race in a canoe. Kayaks are faster in the water than canoes.
The Williamstown resident was not only the first Ironman or woman in any division to cross the finish line at Tanglewood, but he also finished ninth overall in the 37th annual triathlon. Every team ahead of him was a four-person team.
Last year, Lemme, 46, won the Ironperson 40-over division, but finished third among all Ironpeople. His time was more than five minutes behind Josh Flanagan.
"I got killed in the water, so I made a commitment to find a faster boat," said Lemme.
Enter Terry Coyne, who helped provide Lemme with a faster boat that enabled Lemme to be 12 minutes faster in the water.
"He hooked me up with his boat at the last minute," said Lemme. "That's why my team name is ‘Coyne Operated,' because without him, I'm out of operation."
Lemme, a veteran runner who has competed in marathons, said that he stayed with the first big pack of cyclists and when he arrived at the Stockbridge Bowl for the kayak portion of the race, he wasn't feeling great.
"I was pretty tired on the bike. We worked pretty hard," he said. "When I'm usually in that group, I'm testing it and I'm seeing if there are breakaways and I'm out there in the lead occasionally. I'm not just sitting in there sucking off everybody.
"I worked pretty hard in there on the bike."
Lemme said he was better in the kayak, and "for the first time," was passing people in the water. He was cramping up a bit toward the end of his ride around the Stockbridge Bowl. It was something he couldn't completely shake.
"This year I signed up for the open kayak. I didn't sign up for the over-40, even though I'm 46," Lemme said. "I wanted to win the whole thing. I figured I might as well sign up for the division that I wanted to win."
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