TRIATHLETE of the year
So how tough has it become to be part of our annual Triathlete of the Year celebration?
Get this: we have an athlete who won two Ironman races this year – and she didn’t win an award. Another spent the early part of the season decimating the best triathletes on the planet except Olympic gold medalists Jan Frodeno and Alistair Brownlee. He also didn’t get the nod in any of our awards this year.
Face it, Canadians are pretty good at this sport, which is highlighted once again as we join Triathlon Canada and recognize the best of the best. As the sport’s national governing body, Triathlon Canada gives awards that reflect the results of athletes who have excelled at the various world championships. Triathlon Magazine Canada, on the other hand, has a bit more free rein to acknowledge performances that aren’t necessarily tied to the International Triathlon Union’s world championship events, which is why you’ll see a few differences in our top picks.
This impressive list of competitors excelled on the world stage in 2018, continuing Canada’s impressive history when it comes to swimming, biking and running.
completed the 187-km bike and 42.2-km run in 7:10:22, taking the title and earning a spot on the start line in Kona in October.
Two Ironman races. Two Ironman wins. In Mont-Tremblant he beat Sanders, the 2017 Kona runner-up and Matt Russell. In Chattanooga he beat Russell again. A few weeks after that race, Russell would finish sixth in Kona.
Here at Triathlon Magazine Canada, we’re not the only ones who have recognized just how promising Beals’ Ironman career might be. Now that he’s got his Kona start nailed down, he was able to accept an invite from the folks at Challenge Roth next year.
On his website Beals describes himself as a “nerd in jock’s clothing.” He gets to say that because he graduated at the top of his Queen’s University phyisics class in 2012. Chatting with the guy, though, you’d never use the “nerd” moniker. He’s well spoken, easy-going and infinitely approachable – not unlike Sanders, who he’s raced against for years as the two rose up through the professional ranks. Beals competed as both a runner and triathlete in high school and at university. After graduating from Queens, he worked as an environmental science consultant while “applying an analytical, data-driven approach to training and racing” and steadily rose through the age group ranks. In 2013 he took the Ontario Long Distance Championships, breaking the fourhour barrier, and a year later he turned pro.
Almost immediately he was making podiums at various 70.3 races across North America. In 2015 he set a bike course record on his way to winning Ironman 70.3 Eagleman. A year later he took 70.3 Ecuador and defended his title at Eagleman. In 2017 he rounded out a season that included a bunch of podium finishes with a win at Challenge Aruba. Good results, for sure, but nothing that foreshadowed what we’d see from Beals in 2018.
The year began with a win at Ironman 70.3 Taiwan. A flat at Ironman 70.3 Texas left him well back in 22nd, which was followed by a seventh-place finish at Ironman 70.3 Monterey in Mexico. That’s when things really started to click, though. A new course record helped him win 70.3 Victoria. He took the Eagleman title for the third time. And then he got down to work preparing for his first Ironman.
Beals has achieved all these professional top finishes under the careful guidance of David Tilbury-Davis. Since he moved to Guelph in 2017, he’s done a lot of swimming with Craig Taylor’s Guelph Triathlon Project. He averages less than 20 hours a week of training, considerably less than many Ironman pros who routinely rack up well over 30 hours a week of training. Much of that work, though, is at a fairly high intensity.
The bottom line is that it works. Cody Beals surged onto the world scene in 2018 and earned our Triathlete of the Year honours.