ROGUE RIVER — Stented arteries and all, Ron Griswold was all heart in Saturday's Evans Valley Duathlon.
The 62-year-old, who suffered a heart attack in 2006, looked as ferocious as ever on his bicycle and with the help of teammate John Leuthold, of Phoenix, held off defending champion Sean Campbell to claim the top time in the 17th annual event.
"It was a big comeback for me," said Griswold of Brookings, who also has artificial replacements in both knees. "That's why this means a lot. It really feels great."
The 241/2-mile race, which consists of a pair of 5-kilometer runs sandwiched around a 30-kilometer bicycle race, begins and finishes at Rogue River Middle School.
The duo fell behind early when Damian Baldovino of Lakeview, a runner who ranks among the top five in the nation in the master's division, took the overall lead by almost a minute over the 40-year-old Leuthold after the opening 5K run.
From there Griswold charged back, steadily overtaking Baldovino on the bike before eventually being surpassed by a hard-charging Campbell.
Griswold did his part in just a shade over 49 minutes and averaged a speed of 23.1 miles per hour.
With just a half mile remaining in the second running portion, Leuthold made his move against Campbell to eventually edge the defending champ by five seconds.
Griswold and Leuthold finished in 1 hour and 24 minutes and, in turn, became the first overall winners to come out of the 100-and-over combined age division.
"I knew if I kept (Campbell) in sight, John was a strong enough runner and could pass him and John did," said Griswold. "I knew if I held my way on the bike, we could catch him and we needed every second we could get."
Campbell, who had a comeback of his own last year when he passed six competitors after falling behind early to set the record for the men's age 40-49 division, was still able to earn the best individual time, clocking 1:24.05.
The Klamath Falls native was able to hold off Ashland's Jeremy Eisen in the middle stages of the race.
"I took the lead and tried to keep the lead, but Jeremy nearly got me around the bend on the bike," said Campbell.
"Sean's just dominant," said Eisen. "He heard I was coming up and he hit the afterburners and I didn't have anything left to respond.
"I kept him in sight, tried to reel him in, but it didn't happen. It made for a great race."
With Eisen trailing about midway through the cycling portion, Campbell nearly crashed into four deer that crept out into the middle of a winding road.
"(The deer) heard the hum of my spokes and they just stopped, looked up at me like 'Ahh!'" added Campbell.
Eisen was also able to avoid the hazard. He finished third overall and second among the individuals with a time of 1:24.14.
Baldovino finished fourth overall and was third among the individuals. He clocked 1:27.30 and finished second only to Campbell in the men's age 40-49 division.
In the boys age 15-18 division, Medford resident Drew Jordan was fifth overall with a time of 1:30.57.
In a Father's Day prelude, the father-son combination of Medford's Glen Gann and Stephen Gann finished second in their combined age division (37-79) with a time of 1:36.50. Barry Davis and Allen Smith barley nipped the Ganns with a 1:36.44 finish.
Laura Imperia and Sarah Hyman — both from Jacksonville — finished first and second, respectively, among the women. In the 40-49 division, Imperia timed 1:39.51 and Hyman crossed the finish line in 1:41.05 in the 30-39 division.
TOP 5 OVERALL — 1, Ron Griswold-John Leuthold, 1:24.00; 2, Sean Campbell, 1:24.05; 3, Jeremy Eisen, 1:24.14; 4, Damian Baldovino, 1:27.30; 5, Drew Jordan, 1:30.57.
MEN'S AGE DIVISIONS
15-18 — 1, Drew Jordan, Medford, 1:30.57.
20-29 — 1, Daniel Huff, Talent, 1:34.14; 2, Freeborn Mondello, Talent, 1:37.47.
30-39 — 1, Jeremy Eisen, Ashland, 1:24.14; 2, Randy Hilliard, Eugene, 1:40.06; 3, Chris Combs, Medford, 1:46.13.
40-49 — 1, Sean Campbell, Klamath Falls, 1:24.05; 2, Damian Baldovino, Lakeview, 1:27.30; 3, Max Bennett, Rogue River, 1:38.01.
50-59 — 1, Jim Fety, Rogue River, 1:54.17; 2, Kenny Maloney, Medford, 1:59.28; 3, Lowell Stutzman, Grants Pass, 1:59.58.
WOMEN'S AGES DIVISIONS
30-39 — 1, Sarah Hyman, Jacksonville, 1:41.09; 2, Connie Filipek, Grants Pass, 1:49.20.
40-49 — 1, Laura Imperia, Jacksonville, 1:39.51; 2, Cynthia Wright, Ashland, 1:48.50; 3, Mary Jo Maranghi, Grants Pass, 1:51.37.
50-59 — 1, Jan Willis, Grants Pass, 2:04.18.
MEN'S COMBINED AGE DIVISIONS
37-79 — 1, Barry Davis-Allen Smith 1:36.44; 2, Glen Gann-Stephen Gann, 1:36.50.
100-OVER — 1, Ron Griswold-John Leuthold, 1:24.00; 2, Greg Pearson-Randy Wooten, 1:36.56; 3, Doug Naversen-Shane Spano, 1:37.37.
WOMEN'S COMBINED AGE DIVISIONS
37-79 — 1, Kim Jahn-Angela Chandler, 2:21.08; 2, Deborah Bailey-Kristina Leidich, 3:35.35.
MIXED COMBINED AGE DIVISIONS
37-79 — 1, Heather Welch-Richard Hogan, 1:35.29; 2, Robert Gibson-Lisa Hannan, 1:45.38.
80-99 — 1, Grif Wilder-Tracy Wilder, 1:38.55; 2, Ron Ackerman-Joe Capezza, 1:56.21; 3, Mark Peterson-Krista Peterson, 1:43.01.
Reach reporter Warren Blenkush at 776-4480, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org