Josiah Makes History at Team Mango Sprint Triathlon
By Rani Henderson West Hawaii Today
After nearly a decade aspiring for the day he would win his first triathlon, it finally became a dream come true for Josiah Randerson.
On Sunday, the 15-year old Kealakehe Sophomore put together one of the most convincing wins in Team Mango Sprint Triathlon history. Randerson crushed the field by more than seven minutes to win the ¼-mile swim, 14-mile bike, and 2- mile run in a blazing time of 1 hour and 50 seconds.
Not only did crossing the finish line in first mark an incredible win for Randerson, it was also the largest margin of victory recorded in 25 years of Sprint Triathlons. In addition, Randerson earned the remarkable distinction of becoming the youngest Team Mango champion in history.
The best part? Aside from winning, Randerson had no idea of the magnitude of what he just accomplished.
“Yes, I believe you are right,” said Carl Koomoa, race organizer of Team Mango Race events during our interview. “I believe he is the youngest to win the Sprint Tri and probably the youngest to win any Team Mango triathlon event in history. I honestly didn’t think about it until you brought it up. Pretty amazing for a 15-year-old.”
One glance at the winner’s list includes some of the best triathletes of our time. Olympians Tim Don and Matty Reed top the list as both have completed the event in less than an hour. Don currently owns the course record with his time of 53:42 set in 2015. Local professional triathletes Chris Lieto, Tim Marr and Bree Wee have also toed the line.
But on Sunday, it was all Randerson.
After exiting the ¼-mile swim just behind Aiden Ankrum (5:18) to clock in at 5:23, Randerson’s trademark lightening fast transition had him leaving for the 14-mile bike ride on Alii Drive in first.
“When I got to the turnaround at the Pit, I didn’t know how much of a lead I had,” Randerson said. “But when I got to the Sheraton intersection on my way back, that’s when I saw the next biker so I knew I had quite a bit of a lead.”
Randerson added that despite having a cushion, he didn’t want to take any chances and kept his foot on the gas until he hit the run.
“It was hard because I was all alone, so I had to push myself,” he said. “Two things motivated me because I wanted to get a good time. I just imagined that I had to catch up to someone every single minute or, I imagined that someone was there behind me breathing down my neck.”
Either way it didn’t matter as Randerson’s lead from a race best bike split (41:36) and run (13:51) put him nearly a mile ahead of second place, and shattered his finish time from last year by a whopping 11 minutes.
“I was really excited to race this morning,” Randerson said of his third triathlon of the year. “And I’m pretty happy with my finish today as it’s my first triathlon win ever!”
Joe Catanzaro finished in second at 1:07:55, with Mercedes DeCarli taking third overall and first in the women’s division with her time of 1:08:29.
Randerson credits his faster swim-bike-run times to a triathlon-focused training plan.
“I definitely have been doing a lot more training this year,” he said. “Last year I would kind of think of my races as training – it wasn’t very consistent. And so my mom has basically taken over as my coach. She has helped me a lot just organizing my training. It’s really helped as last year I considered my strength to be just the run. This year, my strength is equal between all three.”
Randerson says that he typically wakes at 5 a.m. three times per week to knock out a six to nine-mile run before going to school. From there it’s off to Kealakehe High or what Randerson considers “recovery time,” often wearing compression recovery socks up to his knees until his second workout session of the day.
“Then it’s straight to swim practice that starts at 3:45 in the afternoon which is everyday except for Wednesday,” he said. “I swam on the high school team but now that the season is over, it’s Age Group practice with the Kona Aquatics. I usually do the Hawaii Cycling Club rides on Saturdays, but if there is a swim meet, then I’ll do a trainer ride afterwards. My other ride of the week happens after school on Wednesdays.”
Aside from his determination to master his skills on the racecourse, Randerson also excels in the classroom as an honor roll student holding straight “A’s” for his sophomore year and a 4.0 grade point average. His only blemish came during his freshman year when he received a “B” that resulted to a 3.86 GPA.
With such a bright future ahead and many more years to hone his craft in the multisport world, there is simply no limit to what Randerson will do. But for now, his focus is on April’s Lavaman Waikoloa Olympic Distance Triathlon.
“Lavaman is definitely on my radar. Getting a top 15 or top 20 (overall place) would be really good and hopefully 1st in my age group (19 and Under). Today’s win gives me a lot of hope that I’m doing the right thing and I love that. I love being a triathlete.”