DES MOINES, Iowa — Greg and Laura Bennett were eating dinner Saturday night when the subject of retirement came up.
So did talk of doing something special on Sunday — and Greg seized the moment with a victory that gave the husband-and-wife duo a family sweep in Iowa.
Greg Bennett cruised to a 30-second victory in the Hy-Vee Triathlon in Des Moines on Sunday, joining Laura as champions of the event.
The 39-year-old Bennett earned $151,500 for the victory, part of a $1.1 million purse that's the richest in the sport.
Laura Bennett, who won in Iowa in 2007, finished an impressive fifth on Sunday behind Sweden's Lisa Norden, who took top honors in the women's elite race.
"To come back here four years later and have another Bennett on the trophy ... I feel like I'm almost 40 in a couple of months and to put my name on such a prestigious event before I'm done gives me goose bumps," Greg Bennett said.
Greg Bennett was technically sound during the swim and bike portions of the event and blew away the field during the 10-kilometer run.
Australian Joshua Amberger dominated the men's swim and hopped out of the Des Moines River 54 seconds ahead of American Andy Potts. That lead didn't last a lap of the bike race, though, as Benjamin Collins sprinted into first.
Collins pushed his lead to 41 seconds midway through the bikes, and by the time the athletes transitioned to the run Collins was up by a full minute.
But Collins couldn't fight through a fractured foot any longer, and Bennett jumped ahead to stay.
Kemper was 53 seconds behind Collins midway through the run and 40 second behind entering the final lap, but Bennett's cushion was too great to overcome.
"I did the math, figured I could dial it back a little bit and I had the win," Bennett said. "What a tremendous feeling. I was almost in tears at the finish."
The women's race came down to a frantic finish dominated by Norden, who beat Australian Mirinda Carfrae by eight seconds.
American Sarah Haskins grabbed the lead in the opening lap of the 40-kilometer bike race. A hard-charging Nikki Butterfield, the leader in the U.S. 5150 series standings, caught Haskins right before the transition to the run and went into the final event with an 11-second lead.
Haskins quickly passed Butterfield, though, beating Butterfield by 31 seconds on the opening lap of the run. But Norden, who was eighth after the swim, maintained a steady pace and blew past the field in the final stretch.
The win was unexpected for Norden, who struggled through a foot injury earlier this summer and said she didn't find out she'd been invited to Des Moines until last weekend.
"I put the hammer down and didn't look back," Norden said.
Haskins won in Minneapolis in July and in Chicago last weekend. But she didn't have enough left to hang with Norden, who raised her arms in disbelief as she broke the tape.
Haskins finished third, 17 seconds behind Haskins, and Butterfield wound up in fourth.
"I knew she was a tough runner, so I knew it was going to be tough. It's tough leading the race until the last 600 (meters), but sometimes that's the way it goes," Haskins said.
The event, which moved from downtown Des Moines to nearby West Des Moines because of flooding in 2008, returned to downtown this year and was pushed back from June to Labor Day weekend.
The move produced a picturesque finish, as athletes crossed the finish line in the shadows of the gold-plated dome atop Iowa's capitol building.
None of the fans watching the end of the men's race were as happy as Laura Bennett, who dashed to greet her husband.
"It is such a special thing. My wife and I are truly a team. We support each other every way we can," Bennett said.
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