UP­PING THE ANTE

FULL DIS­TANCE RAC­ING

Triathlon Magazine Canada - - EDITORIAL - SUZANNE ZE­LAZO EDITOR

IWAS LUCKY TO be one of the media and triathlon VIPS, like for­mer Iron­man Canada cham­pion Jasper Blake, who got to watch the spec­ta­cle of 2,000 gutsy triath­letes lin­ing up for the start of Subaru Iron­man Canada in Whistler, B.C., from a float­ing dock in Alta Lake. Temps were un­sea­son­ably cool for late July and light driz­zle turned to gusts of rain that left us blue-lipped, shiv­er­ing and drenched. The gun went off and rac­ers em­braced some of the worst con­di­tions of any Iron­man event this year as they plunged into the 3.8 km swim, then rode the hilly 180 km through Cal­laghan, Pem­ber­ton and the Sea-to-sky high­way, fol­lowed by a marathon. From the pros to those who fin­ished just be­fore the mid­night cut-off, ev­ery ath­lete de­fined courage, pas­sion and men­tal and phys­i­cal for­ti­tude.

Some smartly de­cided not to con­tinue given the state they were in, in­clud­ing podium hope­fuls Jeff Symonds and Karen Thi­bodeau; many dis­cov­ered a new part of them­selves that day.

TMC con­trib­u­tor Me­lanie Mcquaid’s mas­tery of her first at­tempt at the dis­tance left a deep im­pres­sion on me. Although she fin­ished sec­ond just be­hind Amer­i­can Danielle Mack, Mcquaid led the race from the first few kilo­me­tres of the bike through 38 km of the run. Blake in­sisted that the harsh con­di­tions were per­fect for Mcquaid – that she has the un­canny abil­ity to block out the world, put her head down and just go, and he was right. There were many other amaz­ing fin­ishes as ath­letes ran down the red car­pet in Whistler, elated and spent, epit­o­miz­ing en­dur­ing tough­ness.

Third on the podium was Pen­tic­ton’s Jen An­nett, who has been suc­cess­ful at the full dis­tance de­spite suf­fer­ing from epilepsy. Her abil­ity to over­come ad­ver­sity out­side the sport is clearly an as­set when rac­ing, prov­ing she has the mind of a cham­pion. Although he just missed the podium, fourth-place fin­isher, Amer­i­can Derek Gar­cia also demon­strated how to men­tally master phys­i­cal lim­i­ta­tions. Shortly af­ter he turned pro, Gar­cia was di­ag­nosed with can­cer, but came back to the top in the pro ranks.

With the Iron­man World Cham­pi­onship fast ap­proach­ing, we bring you our Kona preview with an in-depth look at the Cana­dian con­tenders. Iron­man statis­ti­cian Ray­mond Britt gives us the scoop on just how hard it is to qual­ify for a cov­eted spot on the Big Is­land (p.48) and Kevin Mackin­non pro­files Ger­man Olympic gold medal­list Jan Fro­deno, who is a strong bet for the win (p.56).

For those not go­ing to Kona and about to en­ter their off-sea­son, we’ve got your bases cov­ered too. Try some­thing dif­fer­ent this fall, while con­tin­u­ing to boost fit­ness. Lucy Smith and Danelle Kabush give you a how-to on run­ning (p.40) and rid­ing (p.34) in the trails.

Whether you’re in Canada in Oc­to­ber, or in Hawaii rac­ing or cheer­ing on the ath­letes, be sure to fol­low our cov­er­age of the event as TMC’S Kevin Mackin­non brings you the ac­tion through­out race week.

LEFT

Jeff Symonds con­tends with the harsh con­di­tions at the 2015 Subaru Iron­man Canada, ul­ti­mately pulling out of the race

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