WILKES-BARRE — Chris Garges and Deedra Porfirio ran to easy, wire-to-wire victories in the 11th annual Wilkes-Barre Duathlon on Father’s Day morning.
Garges, 39, of Bethlehem, ran and biked his way to victory, crossing the finish line in 1 hour, 17 minutes and 35 seconds. Tim Scanlan, 41, of Philadelphia, finished second in 1:22:08. Wilkes-Barre’s own Brian Hilburt, 36, finished third in 1:23:18.
The win was Garges’ third in the race that featured a 3.1-mile run, a 16.5-mile bike and another 3.1-mile run. The race was slightly longer this year than in the past due to construction work at one point along the route.
“The weather really helped this year — it was so cool!” an excited Garges said after his win. “Usually the heat is a problem. But not today. I felt good throughout the entire race. I had a good ride. And I felt strong over the run.”
In past races, Garges had defeated Sean Robbins, the area’s top duathlete and triathlete, twice. Last year, Robbins defeated Garges. But Robbins, 44, of Shavertown, was not in action this year, due to surgery.
“It wasn’t the same this year without Sean out there pushing me,” Garges said. “I tried to be smart, because without Sean running and biking with me, it was really hard to gauge and get into a good pace. But it feels great picking up my third win in this race.”
Three proved to be the charm for Porfirio.
Two years ago she finished third. And last year she finished second.
The 38-year-old from West Pittston broke the tape in 1:32:28. Kelly Adamshick, 35, of Dallas, finished second in 1:35:54. Susann Davis, 49, of Scott Township, placed third in 1:44:08.
“It’s awesome,” Porfirio said of the win. “The run is my strong event. The bike is another story. I normally get passed by some females during the bike. And then I try to make up the time over the run.
“But today I was never passed by a female on the bike. I knew, because no females passed me on the bike, that if I could just get into a nice, strong pace, I would be OK.”
Garges’ brother Jeremy, 38, of Perkasie, finished fifth in 1:24:09. The Garges brothers competed in motocross for 10 years. Then, 11 years ago, they turned to running and biking.
Chris Garges finished this year’s Boston Marathon in 2 hours, 52 minutes. It was his third-best finish in 10 attempts at Boston.
Jen Heck, 43, of West Wyoming, who hasn’t trained much at all of late, bought a bike and decided to give the Duathlon a go. And she finished second in the 40-44 age group, clocking in at 1:48:54.