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Eric Henely, left, of Cedar Falls, congratulates, Jorge Marquez, right after Marquez was the second to cross the finish line after completing the Peregrine Triathlon held at George Wyth State Park on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2011. Marquez finished at 1:11:58.3, while Henely finished first at 1:09:07.8.(DAWN J. SAGERT / Courier Staff Photographer)

DAWN J. SAGERT

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa --- At first glance, Eric Henely and Jorge Marquez are about as different as can be.

But their similarities are what brought them together on Sunday morning as both competed in the sprint division of the Peregrine Triathlon at George Wyth State Park in Cedar Falls.

Henely, 31, is a computer programmer at the University of Northern Iowa and hails from Forest City. He spent a few years with the UNI Masters swimming organization - an amateur swim team comprised of UNI students, faculty and staff - after graduation from college.

Marquez, 44, is from Chihuahua, Mexico, and has a background as an amateur bicyclist.

Both men now reside in Cedar Falls and have been competing as amateurs on the triathlon circuit for the past 10 years.

They are also both fathers and family men who draw inspiration from their families.

"I am just looking forward to being back with my family now that I've won a race," Henely said after Sunday's competition. "Over the last couple of years I've gotten up towards the front. You don't get a chance to win every day, and it was nice to do it in my hometown."

Henely now holds the course record finishing in 1 hour, 9 minutes, 7.8 seconds, smashing the old course record by more than nine minutes.

The race started with a 500-meter swim, which Henely completed in 8:15.3. After more than eight minutes in 63-degree water, his body numb from head-to-toe, Henely proceeded to roar through the 15.8-mile bike phase of the race and finished the event by completing a 5K run in less than 20 minutes.

"I saw one or two people in front of me in the swim - it looked like they were pretty far ahead of me," Henely said. "It wasn't until about mile five on the bike that I realized I was out front. I knew it was up to me what I wanted to do at that point."

Marquez, too, felt the effects of the cold water.

"This is really, really cold for me," he said. "I started running and I couldn't feel my feet. But I didn't think too much about the weather."

Despite finishing second, Marquez also shattered the old course record, racing across the finish line in 1:11:58.3, highlighted by an 18:34.8 time in the 5k run.

New Hampton native Heather Rausch set the new course record for women, winning in a record time of 1:17:10.3.

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