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Posted: Thursday, March 19, 2009 12:00 pm | Updated: 8:17 am, Thu Aug 16, 2012.

By Alicia Lacy

The Cove Herald

Because of the weather many cycling and running events scheduled for last weekend were canceled, but the women toughed it out. With the smallest turnout the event has seen in five years, none of the 90 women who participated in the fifth annual Tough Cookie Duathlon Sunday morning crumbled.

The annual event is geared toward motivating and empowering women to lead healthier lifestyles by participating in multi-sport activities in a fun, non-competitive and goal-oriented manner, which attracted many athletes to Copperas Cove.

"This event and others encourages women to multi-sport. It can be intimidating, but I created an event that's fun and beginner friendly," said Tzatzil LeMair, Tough Cookie Fitness founder and director.

This year's event attracted women from as far as Kansas and Oklahoma and Texans from Austin, Dallas, San Antonio, Houston and Copperas Cove.

The race began with a 1.5-mile run on the jogging path in South Park followed by a 10-mile bike race from Martin Walker Elementary School down Farm-to-Market 116 to Oakalla Road and back to the school and finished with another 1.5 mile-run in South Park.

Maura Guthrie, 47, of Dallas was the overall winner, crossing the finish line at 59 minutes and seven seconds.

Guthrie competed Saturday in the Athens Triathlon, where she swam 300 meters, bicycled 13.8 miles and ran the 5K before traveling to Copperas Cove for the duathlon.

Guthrie started competing in events in 2005 and competes in about 30 events every year.

The second-place winner was 13-year-old Kelsey Abbott of Austin.

Abbott, a member of the track team at Lago Vista Middle School said this was her first adult event.

"It was a really fun course and the people are nice and supportive," Abbott said.

Deanna Attkisson, who wanted to be somewhere warm for spring break, decided to come to Copperas Cove after searching for things to do.

Mother and daughter team Dana, 40, and Sydneyucker, 12, of Austin came out and competed for the first time.

"It was good. We had fun," Dana said.

"I like it better when the men aren't around in the race; there's more of a camaraderie," she said.

Coveite Pam Moore came out for her first multi-sport competition.

"It was challenging and exhausting to start the run after the bike race," Moore said.

"It's fun and less intimidating and less crowded (without men). Everybody was so nice and every person I passed said 'good job.' It was very encouraging," Moore said.

Tough Cookie Fitness is an Austin-based women-only multi-sport training company that began in 2002 and just recently launched a Dallas extension.

LeMair said they decided to use this year's event as the official fundraising event for the Tough Cookie MS150 Cycling Team.

The team's goal is to raise $12,000 for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society Lone Star Chapter, and Sunday's duathlon brought in approximately $2,000 toward the goal.

Contact Alicia Lacy at alacy@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7476.

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