CANADIAN IRONMAN VETS REVISIT THEIR ROOTS AT IRONSOUL
The first ever IronSoul event is being held in Penticton on August 28.
It is described as “a long training day with new friends and old friends.” The event is primarily targeted toward athletes who already have closets full of Ironman finisher’s t-shirts and drawers full of finisher’s medals and don’t need external validation of their athletic credentials. Although there will be the usual 3.8-km swim, 180-km bike, and 42-km run, there will be no entry fees, finisher’s medals or Kona slots. Participants are welcome to do the whole distance on their own or as a part of a relay.
The idea for the IronSoul originated after the demise of Challenge Penticton. Looking at the race schedule, I realized 2018 would have been the first time in 35 years the south Okanagan region hadn’t held a long-distance triathlon during the last weekend in August. IronSoul looks to fill that void and to keep that tradition going.
Many in the Canadian multisport community enjoy competing in a full-distance event at the end of August because they have the whole summer to train outdoors and get in those critical long bike rides and open water swims. The date was also popular as it was a way of capping off the triathlon season and, for many, their summer vacations. IronSoul promises to do both in a laid-back and economical manner.
The cycling portion of the IronSoul retraces the route of the original Ironman Canada bike course and gives participants an opportunity to test themselves on that storied course for the first time in years. Richter Pass, Yellow Lake and the epic downhill back into Penticton will all be there to challenge the legs and inspire memories from three decades of racing that saw the likes of Thomas Hellriegel, Peter Reid, Lisa Bentley, Scott Tinley and Erin Baker compete. Participants are encouraged to bring their vintage triathlon bikes – I look forward to seeing some old-style Zipp, Softride, Lightspeed and Kestrel frames.
Although the day is officially unsupported, I have been approached by many people offering to volunteer. I was worried the long stretch of the run between Skaha Beach and Okanagan Falls might be difficult, especially if it was a hot day, but many people in the triathlon community have committed to providing aid to IronSoul participants. Don’t be surprised if 2015 Challenge Penticton Champion Jeff Symonds is handing you a cup of F2C Glyco-Durance on your way back from Okanagan Falls.
If you have the experience, attitude and desire to take on the challenge of an Ironman distance training day at a classic Canadian venue, the IronSoul event could be a great way to end of your 2018 season. E-mail [email protected]hoo.com for more information or to join the list.
Abbotsford, B.C.’s Kevin Heinz is an avid triathlete. He hosts a bi-weekly podcast: fitspeek.com.