43rd annual SELCO Pole Pedal Paddle

What: More than 2,000 racers competed as individuals or teams on a 34-mile course from Mount Bachelor to Bend that included alpine skiing, a 6.2-kilometer nordic ski, a 22-mile road bike ride, a 5-mile run, a 11⁄2-mile paddle and a half-mile sprint.

Andrew Boone did not have the energy left to fully raise his hands above his head in victory, and he collapsed in the grass just past the finish line at Bend’s Les Schwab Amphitheater Saturday.

He got up only when Marshall Greene — both his friend and nemesis — crossed the line 31 seconds behind him.

It was Boone’s third elite men’s win in the SELCO Pole Pedal Paddle, but it was the first time he had ever defeated Greene, who has won the popular multisport race seven times.

Moments after Greene lumbered across the finish line, the two Bend endurance athletes and dads pushing middle age shared a quick but warm embrace.

Boone, 38, finished the 43rd annual PPP in 1 hour, 53 minutes, 8 seconds. Greene finished in 1:53:39, and Matt Briggs, also of Bend, was a close third in 1:54:00.

“I have a ton of support here and I appreciate everyone rooting for me to finally get on the top step with Marshall in the race,” a sweaty Boone said afterward. “It feels good. He’s a good friend of mine and I think he’s got a couple more in him, as do I. Without Jesse (Thomas) in the race, we knew it was going to be a battle, and it played out that way. It was a tough race for me but I had enough in the end. It was kind of a race of conservation in the beginning and then just going nuts in the end.”

Thomas, a professional triathlete from Bend, won the PPP last year by more than three minutes. This year he was out with an injury, and Boone and Greene were close from start to finish on a seasonably mild day that made for ideal racing conditions.

After the short alpine ski start at Mt. Bachelor, Boone, Greene and Briggs stayed together for much of the 8-kilometer nordic leg.

But after the 22-mile downhill bike ride from Mount Bachelor to Bend, Greene held a 55-second lead on Boone. Boone powered through the 5-mile run along the Deschutes River Trail and passed Greene about 31⁄2 miles into the stage.

“I started to see him and I could tell he was struggling,” Boone said of Greene. “I wasn’t feeling very good either. I just said, if I can get a little bit of distance coming into the paddle I’d feel pretty good.”

He was able to keep the lead during the 11⁄2-mile paddle stage along the Deschutes, but Greene was churning in the leader’s wake, about 20 meters behind, as hundreds of spectators cheered them on from the footbridge in Bend’s Old Mill District.

Boone — who won the PPP in 2011 and 2016 when Greene was not in the race — held him off and slogged through the final half-mile sprint into the amphitheater for the win.

“I was surprised that he came back to me as much as he did on the paddle,” Boone said. “I tried to be conservative and save some energy. I might have gone too easy in the first part of the paddle and he was coming on strong.”

Greene, 37, said he put in so much effort trying to catch up to Boone while paddling his sleek kayak along the Deschutes that he knew he would not catch him on the final sprint.

“Even when I was in his wake (drafting), even then I could barely keep up,” Greene said. “So I just knew that I had no chance of going around him on the boat. And he had already outrun me, so I thought my chances on the sprint were pretty low. As soon as I got out of the water, he was gone.”

Greene is a competitor who hates to lose — especially in a race that he has dominated over the years — but he admitted he was happy for Boone, a graduate of Mountain View High School who grew up in Bend.

“I’ve been thinking it’s going to happen one of these years,” Greene said. “It’s great for him. We’ve had a lot of fun battles and we’re good friends, so it’s awesome.”

— Reporter: 541-383-0318,

mmorical@bendbulletin.com

23240989