Trevor Wurtele Wins Whistler’s Ironman Canada
Kelowna,B. C.’ s Trevor Wurtele successfully fulfilled his season’s main goal and notched a come-from-behind victory to claim his first Ironman title at Whistler, B.C. Wurtele ran a 2:54:31 marathon to break away from American Matthew Russell to win in 8:39:33. We caught up with the champion: Triathlon Magazine Canada: did all go according to plan? TW: I had envisioned a few different race scenarios, and this was definitely one of them. Having Matt Russell catch me at kilometre 85 or so was not ideal, but I knew what I had to do if he did. I knew I had to stay in touch no matter how hard I had to ride. I did not want to start the run behind him. Honestly, though, after 20 km of trying to stay in touch with him I almost just went back to doing my own thing. He was absolutely hammering and I wasn’t sure I could keep up that effort. Thankfully Matt torched himself a bit because I was able to get away on the last climb back to Whistler.
With this being your focus race for the year, TMC: You are consistenly a strong runner, but how surprised were you to break away from Matthew Russell? TW: I think my biggest asset going into this race was that I trained on the course for three weeks prior to the race. I was 100 per cent sure that if you cooked yourself on the very difficult bike leg, you’d pay for it on this run – which isn’t easy either. I had never raced side by side with Matt in an Ironman, but I knew he rarely runs slower than 2:53. What I wasn’t sure about was whether or not he can do that after riding as hard as he did. We traded the lead back and forth a bit for the first six miles. I didn’t notice any real signs of him hurting, but somehow I managed to get a small gap. When that happened I didn’t push the pace any harder, I didn’t want to go crazy so early. With 20 miles still to go anything can happen, so I just kept things turning over. Rather than dwell too much on what was happening behind me, I made sure to stay fuelled and hydrated. Being in the lead of an Ironman at that point (my first time ever in the lead of a full Ironman), it could have been very easy to get a bit excited and forget about the little things. TMC: Your confidence must be soaring right now thanks to the win and the fact you can run so strongly after a tough bike and against a known runner. Will we see you plan for another Kona appearance next year or target a few other races? TW: Kona is an amazing race and I do see myself getting back there. But yes, you’re right. I want to go back when I know I can race for a top 10. I don’t want to go back just to be a participant. I did that in 2012 and it sucked. I didn’t get any satisfaction from just being there. Looking back it would have been so much better to go do a late season race elsewhere. TMC: How was your overall experience at this new race location? How does the Ironman Canada course rank in terms of toughness? TW: Having trained on the Whistler course for a few weeks made a big difference. I knew patience was going to be important. If I had to compare this course to the old Ironman Canada course in Penticton, I’d say the bike course in Whistler is much harder because of where the hills come at you. The run is quite similar to Penticton. But I’d say the Penticton run course is mentally harder. Ten kilometres into that run and you can see all the way down Skaha Lake to where you have to run to, and that’s only halfway. In Whistler, while its hilly, the run course is shaded most of the way. It’s fun coming back through the village area for the second loop. All of that makes it a bit more enjoyable. Of course, being in the lead may have upped the enjoyment factor just a tad. TMC: What’s next? TW: For the next month or so I’ll just be slowly getting back into training, but also supporting my wife Heather as she tackles both 70.3 worlds and Kona. By the looks of things, I’ll be heading to Ironman Arizona to finish off my year.