When Duncan resident Gary Ferguson decided to compete in the 2013 Lake Draper Duathlon, the initial plan was for him to join forces with Duncan track star Walker Clampitt.
After an injury prevented Clampitt from participating, he got in touch with a former Duncan star runner that both men were familiar with to fill in for him – three time Class 5A State gold medalist Dustin Mettler.
In other words, Ferguson found about as strong a replacement as possible.
Mettler ran through the competition, finished the race in record time and the duo blew the opposition away, taking first with a time of 57 minutes and 37 seconds Sunday.
“We were going against some quality athletes who have competed before, some at the collegiate level,” Ferguson said. “To see Dustin do what he did and run that way, I was excited as he was.”
The event consisted of an opening 3K run, a 14 mile bike ride and another 3K run to finish the race. Mettler took care of the running while Ferguson pulled his weight on the bike. The former Duncan cross-country star dominated from start to finish, winning each run with ease.
When the event started, Mettler hung near the front and sat in third place until making his first move at the race’s opening hill.
From that point on, the competition didn’t stand a chance.
“I saw him take off with the group and was trying to figure out what his strategy was,” Ferguson said. “Then he just took off and got way ahead of everyone.”
By the time Ferguson finished the bike ride, he and Mettler were more than 13 minutes ahead of the second place team. The 65-year old former runner turned biker also placed well, claiming the fifth fastest overall bike time.
It wasn’t the first time the pair has teamed up, as they took on a duathlon in Oklahoma City years ago.
“I’ve been doing these kind of things for a long time and there’s no question Dustin is a natural born runner,” Ferguson said. “It certainly didn’t hurt being his partner.”
It’s really nothing new for Mettler, who won the Founder’s Day 5K run two weeks ago and competes in races regularly. After his success in Duncan, he took his talents to the Division I level, running in the Sun Belt Conference for Arkansas-Little Rock.
Ferguson has also been a mainstay on the racing circuit, as he started running in 1978 before racing in biking competitively.
“I know one thing we have in common is the competitive nature we both have,” Ferguson said. “As a competitor, you want to always do as well as you can. I’ll tell you, it was great winning this weekend. Winning just never gets old.”