CAPE BRE­TON’S IRON­MAN CHAMP

COREY DE­VEAUX

Triathlon Magazine Canada - - FEATURES - BY NORMA JEAN MACPHEE

FOR SOME ATH­LETES, the mo­ti­va­tion to com­pete in triathlon is fit­ness or over­all health. For oth­ers it’s pure cu­rios­ity. For Corey De­veaux of Syd­ney, Cape Bre­ton, his friends pro­vided the im­pe­tus. “Many of the peo­ple I swam with and looked up to had just re­turned from do­ing an Iron­man in Ger­many,” says De­veaux, 32. “They in­spired me to do it.” De­veaux started run­ning in 2011. That fall he com­pleted his first half marathon at the Cape Bre­ton Fid­dlers’ Run and then, within a month, he fin­ished a full marathon in P.E.I. Soon af­ter, he started swimming with the Cape Bre­ton Bar­bar­ians, the triathlon club in Syd­ney, which is made up of more than a hundred ath­letes who com­pete at all lev­els. Some ease into the sport with a sprint or a tri-a-tri, but the thrill of the Iron­man chal­lenge lured him in. “The dis­tance is so big, it re­ally stood out as some­thing I wanted to try,” says De­veaux. “The en­durance as­pect of it.” He hadn’t com­peted in any triathlons at the time when he signed up for his first Iron­man. “I felt pure ex­cite­ment,” says De­veaux of when he signed up for Mont-trem­blant, Que. in 2012.

With a nat­u­ral ap­ti­tude for the wa­ter, love of the bike and re­spect for the art of run­ning, it made sense for the ju­nior high school teacher to be tempted by the sport. With Mon­tTrem­blant set for that Au­gust, De­veaux cut his chops in June at the In­go­nish Triathlon race in the Olympic dis­tance. At times his cy­cling train­ing regime in­cluded re­peats of North Moun­tain at the tip of Cape Bre­ton Is­land, a 445-m climb along the iconic twisty, turny Cabot Trail. Added to that were many open wa­ter swims in Bras d’or Lake and pound­ing the pave­ment all over the is­land.

The hard work paid off. De­veaux sur­prised and pleased him­self by plac­ing fourth in Que­bec and qual­i­fy­ing for Kona, Hawaii for the Iron­man World Cham­pi­onship.

It was a big jump for a guy whose only or­ga­nized sports as a kid con­sisted of road hockey and a bit of ten­nis. “Noth­ing com­pet­i­tive,” he laughs.

Since 2012, De­veaux’s com­peted in sev­eral other Iron­man dis­tance races. Then, last sum­mer, less than five years since his first triathlon, he won Iron­man Lake Placid.

“I was just in awe, it was very sur­real. Did this just hap­pen? Am I dream­ing?” he laughs, say­ing it didn’t set in un­til the next cou­ple of days.

His suc­cess at­tracted ath­letic spon­sor­ship first from a Hal­i­fax bi­cy­cle shop called Cy­cle­smith. And, for the 2016 sea­son, he’s part of Team Zoot Canada.

Plans for this sea­son in­clude the Bos­ton Marathon and sev­eral half Iron­man dis­tance races, along with other events around Cape Bre­ton in­clud­ing In­go­nish and Port Hood, along with a re­cently added duathlon in Baddeck.

De­veaux is def­i­nitely not fin­ished with longer dis­tances, though, nor is com­pet­ing twice in Hawaii at the world cham­pi­onship enough. He’s set his sights on qual­i­fy­ing for Kona in 2017.

“I have goals of do­ing bet­ter in Hawaii,” says De­veaux mod­estly. “I haven’t felt I’ve reached my limit yet.” His favourite of the three sports? “Bik­ing, be­cause of the variations in speed. You get to go fast and the ter­rain changes, whereas with run­ning you try to main­tain the same speed. The swim, well, you have to just get through it.”

His pas­sion for the sport con­tin­ues to flour­ish.

“I en­joy the train­ing, but I love the rac­ing,” says De­veaux with a smile. “I’m com­pet­i­tive, but also I love how much fun ev­ery­one has dur­ing a race. The ca­ma­raderie, even dur­ing a race – and then af­ter­wards when ev­ery­one talks about it and swaps sto­ries – I just love the whole ex­pe­ri­ence.”

Norma Jean Macphee is free­lance jour­nal­ist from Nova Sco­tia.

LEFT

De­veaux cross­ing the fin­ish like at Iron­man Lake Placid in 2015

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