DES­TI­NA­TION RACE

SUBARU EPIC DART­MOUTH TRIATHLON

Triathlon Magazine Canada - - DEPARTMENTS - BY KERRY HALE

Clermont, Cozumel and Lan­zarote

Train­ing Camps

DART­MOUTH, N. S. has earned no­to­ri­ety as the set­ting for the hit tele­vi­sion show Trailer Park Boys. Nick­named the City of Lakes, the com­mu­nity of 70,000 is also be­com­ing in­creas­ingly well-known for the Subaru Epic Dart­mouth Triathlon, part of the Epic Dart­mouth week­end. Now in its fourth year, the race takes place at the end of June. The fourth run­ning of the event was re­cently held from June 27 to 28. The Epic week­end has grown from its hum­ble begin­nings when 97 starters toed the line in 2012 to over 1,500 par­tic­i­pants in 2015.

The 2015 Subaru Epic Dart­mouth Triathlon was the only Eastern Cana­dian qual­i­fy­ing event for the 2016 ITU World Cham­pi­onships, to be held in Ok­la­homa City, Okla.

The Subaru Epic Dart­mouth prides it­self on its grass­roots feel and yet is one of the busiest triathlon fes­ti­vals in Canada. In ad­di­tion to the mar­quee event held over the full dis­tance (3.8 km swim/180 km bike/ 42.2 km run), the week­end also in­cludes in­di­vid­ual and team events in the Aqua Dart­mouth (3.8 km swim/180 km bike), Epic Dart­mouth (3.8 km swim/180 km bike/21.1 km) run, and Terra Dart­mouth dis­tances. “Mod­elled af­ter Pow­er­man Zof­fi­gen in Switzer­land, our Terra Dart­mouth Duathlon (10.5 km run/180 km bike/31.5 km run) gives North Amer­i­can com­peti­tors a rare op­por­tu­nity to test them­selves with a long-dis­tance duathlon on this con­ti­nent,” ex­plains race di­rec­tor, Tim Ch­es­nutt.

It was orig­i­nally con­ceived as the per­fect long-dis­tance, high-vol­ume train­ing day for those plan­ning a mid- to late-sum­mer Iron­man race, but it is also fast be­com­ing an A-race it­self. There is also an in­di­vid­ual and team triathlon over the half dis­tance (1.9 km swim/90 km bike/ 21.1 km run), with aquabike (1.9 km swim/90 km bike), and duathlon (90 km bike /21.1 km run) op­tions on the same day.

With an av­er­age race day tem­per­a­ture of 23 C and wa­ter tem­per­a­tures typ­i­cally in the 19–22 C range, it’s a wet­suit-le­gal, but not wet­suit-manda­tory, swim. The swim legs are set in ei­ther pris­tine Lake Banook for the full dis­tance events, or Pet­peswick In­let for the half dis­tance events. The bike course winds along a scenic river val­ley and a chain of seven lakes on the re­turn to T2, and the run legs are on a mix of as­phalt and dust trails through shaded Shu­bie Park along the perime­ters of Lake Banook and Lake Mic­mac, bring­ing you to the fin­ish chute on Prince Al­bert Road.

Ch­es­nutt ex­plains, “Subaru Epic Dart­mouth is truly a unique event. We al­low com­peti­tors to switch be­tween the Aqua, Epic and full race dis­tances up to and even dur­ing the event it­self in re­sponse to the re­al­i­ties of their day. Ath­letes can fin­ish at a shorter length if they be­come forced to choose be­tween ei­ther quit­ting, or risk­ing fur­ther in­jury by gut­ting it out to the fin­ish line on a day when things sim­ply didn’t go right.” Even if en­tered and com­pet­ing in the full dis­tance, ath­letes sim­ply in­di­cate their choice to a tim­ing vol­un­teer, and head to the fin­ish line to be a full fin­isher at ei­ther the Epic (21.1 km run) or Aqua dis­tances (no run).

For pure run­ners and kids, there are 5 km and 10 km run­ning races as well as a chil­dren’s triathlon on of­fer. For swim en­thu­si­asts, or­ga­niz­ers have also added long dis­tance swim events, with par­tic­i­pants cov­er­ing 1 km, 2 km, or 5 km around Lake Banook. The swim events are now part of the Global Swim Se­ries, cur­rently in its sec­ond sea­son.

There was no strate­gic plan to cre­ate a week­end with many events. Ch­es­nutt says it de­vel­oped into that to en­sure the eco­nom­i­cal vi­a­bil­ity of the long course race. “We dis­cov­ered that hold­ing a 226 km long event is a crazy idea fi­nan­cially. It’s in­cred­i­bly ex­pen­sive, and our main im­pe­tus for adding these ex­tra races is it makes a lot more fi­nan­cial sense to have 1,500 peo­ple in a 5 km than to be start­ing off with 100 peo­ple in a 226 km event,” he said. “We didn’t re­al­ize at the time just how much of a life each of those races would take on of their own.”

Com­peti­tors in the Epic and full dis­tances will also be con­tribut­ing to their triathlon club’s re­sults in the 2015 Epic Club Cham­pi­onships. The top triathlon club – as mea­sured by com­bined low net fin­ish po­si­tions of the top three club mem­bers, in­clud­ing at least one male and one fe­male – will take home a min­i­mum of $500 prize money.

All ath­letes are en­cour­aged to celebrate their ac­com­plish­ments on the bal­cony over­look­ing the fin­ish line, where full mas­sage and med­i­cal ser­vices are on of­fer, as well as a se­lec­tion of post-race li­ba­tions from Gar­ri­son Brew­eries.

Kerry Hale is a triath­lete, coach and free­lance jour­nal­ist liv­ing in the Comox Val­ley, B.C.

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