Hill hampered by nasty blister (Triathlon)

July 23, 2011
Damian Hill

Bristol Bay’s Damian Hill looked to be on track to qualifying for the world championships after 62 miles of the grueling 70.3-mile Rev 3 Series Triathlon in Portland, Ore.

The 28-year-old former commercial fisherman from Naknek was among the race leaders after the swim and bike and early parts of the run.

“I was right there,” Hill told me. “There was a motorcycle next to me. There was a helicopter in the area. I was in the race.”

It was supposed to be his big moment.

But his dream was derailed by the smallest of injuries – a blister on his foot.

“This is the daddy of them all,” Hill said. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”

The persistent pain wreaked havoc on him during the run, forcing him to walk at times and dropping him to 24th among 27 in the men’s pro field with a time of 4 hours, 43 minutes, 28 seconds.

Early on, though, he felt indestructible.

Hill was in fifth place after the 1.2-mile swim (27:08) and then turned in the fourth-fastest time on the 56-mile bike (2:07.56).

Then disaster struck shortly after he started running.

“I ended up falling apart about mile 5 or 6,” he said. “I walked the last three miles.”

He finished the 13.1-mile race in 2:04:20.

“I was a little bit angry after the race. This was the first big race I was planning for … there was a lot weighing on it and I didn’t perform,” he said. “I wouldn’t say it’s been tough mentally, but I’ve definitely drank a few beers.”