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Perfect strangers capture title

ROGUE RIVER ' When they woke up Saturday morning, Heidi Backlund and Glen Gann didn't even know each other.

9:29 a.m., the two shared the Evans Valley Duathlon coed gold medal.

The tandem shattered the running/bicycling race's course record by almost two minutes despite never competing together before.

We didn't come here to break any record, said Backlund, a Medford native. I just came here to have a good time.

— The pair was set up by Central Point fitness enthusiast Kent Gutches, who placed second in the men's individual race.

I run with Heidi in the mornings and bike with Glen, Gutches said. So I figured I'd get them together, and they could put the squeeze on the record.

Ashland High cross country coach Bob Julian Jr. and Crater High coach Justin Loftus led the first leg of the race, a 5,000-meter foot race up East Evans Creek Road, coming in at 16 minutes, 32 seconds.

Backlund was not far behind at around 18 minutes and passed off to Gann for the 30-kilometer bicycling leg. Gann, who is sponsored by Sims Racing, gradually picked off the competition, taking the lead for good at Queens Ranch Road.

Backlund anchored the race with another 5,000 meters, this time up the west side of the valley.

We just both came out here to do our half, Gann said. I probably did about 45 minutes, but we shattered the record with her 18s.

The duo broke the tape in — hour, 22 minutes, 40 seconds, breaking the coed record of 1:24:20 set by Rosa Gutierrez and Mark Lansing in 1996.

Finishing not far behind was Roseburg triathlete Jason Allen in a time of 1:24:26. Allen was the men's individual winner.

I love this race, said Allen, who owns the 40-49 age group individual record. It's a beautiful course, and we had great weather.

Capturing the individual title on the women's side was another Roseburg native and course record holder, Laura Jackson.

The bike course is just awesome, said Jackson, who toured the course in 1:43:51. Once you do that second run, you wonder, 'Why in the world am I doing this?' But once you cross the finish line, it's all worth it again.

Grants Pass High running standout Katherine Howard successfully defended her 16-19 girls age group record and shaved five seconds off her previous best time, finishing in 1:55:59.

I was just hoping to do any time better than last year, said Howard. The running was actually slower than last year, but I just rode the bike a lot faster.

Fitting for Father's Day was Team Jones' second-place finish in the mixed 37-79 age group. The Grants Pass team of George and daughter McKenzie Jones came in at 1:32:54.

She runs cross country, and I'm just a lifelong athlete, the elder Jones said. McKenzie gave me a good position for the bike.

Evans Valley Duathlon

At Rogue River Middle School

INdivIDUAL

MEN

1, Jason Allen, Roseburg, 1:24:26; 2, Kent Gutches, Central Point, 1:28:00; 3, Shawn Burke, Brookings, 1:28:13; 4, Ted Burnham, Ashland, 1:31.58; 5, Robert Julian Jr., 1:32:34; 6, John Leuthold, Phoenix, 1:32:56; 7, Craig Sewell, McCloud, Calif. 1:33:15; 8, Joe Griffin, Central Point 1:34:17; 9, Robbin Lacey, Talent, 1:36:54; 10, Rick Valentine, Medford, 1:37:46.

WOMEN

1, Laura Jackson, Roseburg, 1:43:51; 2, Amy Warner, Ashland, 1:50:44; 3, Dawna Sether, Glendale, 1:54:57; 4, Katherine Howard, Grants Pass, 1:55:59; 5, Gwen Turros, Ashland, 1:57:02; 6, Cecily Gallagher, Medford, 1:58:52; 7, Robin Van Horn, Central Point, 2:06:33.

AGE GROUPS

MEN

20-29 '

1, Bryan Dorris, Medford, 1:48:24.

30-39 '

1, Allen, Ros, 1:24:26; 2, Burnham, Ashland, 1:31:58; 3, Julian, 1:32:34.

40-49 '

1, Gutches, 1:28:00; 2, Burke, 1:28:13; 3, Griffin, Central Point, 1:34:17.

50-59 '

1, Lacey, Talent, 1:36:54; 2, Russ Burnett, Crescent City, 1:38:55; 3, Mike Miller, Phoenix, 1:40:16.

60-69 '

1, Bob Vaughn, Rogue River, 1:47:39; 2, Lathan Brinkley, Medford, 2:00:57; 3, Mike Gallagher, Grants Pass, 2:11:50.

WOMEN

16-19 '

1, Howard, Grants Pass, 1:55:39.

30-39 '

1, Amy Warner, Ashland, 1:30:54; 2, Gwen Turros, 1:57:02; 3, Robine Van Horn, CP, 2:06:33.

40-49 '

1, Jackson, Rose, 1:43:51; 2, Suther, Glen, 1:54:57; 3, Gallagher, Med, 1:58:52.

TEAM

(by combined age)

MEN

37-79 '

1, Deschamps/Loftus, Central Point, 1:27:30; 2, Myers/Murillo, Grants Pass, 1:38:41.

80-99 '

1, Lansings/Bain, Grants Pass, 1:31:31.

100+ '

Burnham/Bowman, Ashland, 1:30:07; Miller/Burton, Eagle Point, 1:35:05; 3, Maloney/Hazeltine, Jacksonville, 2:01:49.

WOMEN

37-79 '

1, Julian/Loftus, Ashland, 2:13:01.

80-99 '

1, Fleetwood/Vaughn, Shady Cove, 1:51:45; 2, Fowler/Hendy, Sutherlin, 1:54:54.

MIXED

37-79 '

1, Gann/Backlund, Medford, 1:22:40; 2, G. Jones/M. Jones, Grants Pass, 1:32:54; 3, Gassman/Cannon, Medford, 1:44:35;

80-99 '

1, McWilliams/Griswold, Crescent City, 1:29:55; 2, Richard/Maag, Ashland, 1:39:02; Jahn/Marshall, Rogue River, 1:54:38.

100+ '

1, Callahan/Miller, Medford, 1:48:09; 2, Howard/Hedd, Grants Pass, 1:53:25.

Evans Valley Duathlon competitors spread out after the start of the event, which sandwiches a 30-kilometer bike leg with two 5,000-meter runs. Mail Tribune / Andrew Mariman - Mail Tribune Andrew Mariman