Katarina Marks is on a mission to earn her card to become a professional triathlete, and the Durangoan came one step closer by notching a world title at the 2017 International Triathlon Union Multisport World Championships Festival earlier this month in Penticton, British Columbia, Canada.
Marks, who is originally from Pagosa Springs, won the women’s cross triathlon for the 25-29 age group, finishing in 3 hours, 3 minutes, 31 seconds.
The Fort Lewis College graduate said winning a world title and representing the U.S. was a thrilling experience, but one of the most fun parts of the event was the festival aspect that came with it.
“There were like seven different events throughout the week. It was cool to see different events and watch people finish and get excited to race,” Marks said. “Once my day for racing was there, I was excited to see what I could do.”
Marks finished the swimming leg of the triathlon 2:11 behind Canada’s Lindsay Glassford, but took command of the race on her bike, making up 4:04 on Glassford to take a sizeable lead.
“The mountain bike course was pretty awesome – it had a little bit of everything,” Marks said. “We started out on a wider single-track that you were able to pass on. After that, it was all on single-track with a decent amount of climbing and some pretty technical stuff. It was interesting, when I was pre-riding the course I slit my tire because the rocks are so sharp there. Definitely not like what we have here in Durango, so that was a new experience.”
With close to a two-minute lead on Glassford and the rest of the field, Marks put the race away in the eight-kilometer run, finishing in 35:03, which was the fastest for all women, including professionals.
In the end, Marks finished 4:11 ahead of Glassford, who placed second.
Marks has two events left in the season. First she’ll head to Ogden, Utah, for the XTERRA Pan-Am Championship in mid-September, then will take off for Hawaii for the XTERRA World Championships in late October.
“Hopefully, with that one, I’ll qualify for my pro card,” Marks said of the Pan Am Championships. “That’s kind of the next step to get my professional license.”