Triathlon Magazine Canada



The 2021 Canadian Race Scene

So what will racing look like in Canada in 2021? Your guess is as good as ours. That said, the world of racing will hopefully look better in 2021 than it did in 2020, with many in the sport anticipati­ng that we’ll see some local racing at some point in the summer as vaccinatio­ns become available and, hopefully, we'll come up with some guidelines that allow for safe racing.

Eric Noel, the race director of the World Triathlon Montreal, is really hoping we’ll see his race go off in June. In addition to being a World Triathlon Championsh­ip Series (WTCS) race that could serve as one of the last tune-up races for the Olympics, the race will also be a dry run for the 2022 Sprint and Mixed Relay World Championsh­ips and is supposed to be the age-group national championsh­ips, too. (The elite race will offer an exciting new format, too – read more about it in the Race Report on p.54.) A few days before the WTCS race, they will also host a World Paratriath­lon Championsh­ip Series race.

Before taking on the new position as race director for the Montreal event, Noel was the technical director of Triathlon Quebéc, and was very much involved with the Quebec events that were able to go off in 2020 – the Esprit Triathlon in Montreal and Magog’s Trimemphre. Based on that experience, he’s confident they can put on a weekend full of races following the same guidelines that were in place last summer with a limit of 250 people on the race site at any given time.

“We have the expertise to do that,” Noel says. “The health authoritie­s know what they want

in terms of distance and protocols. If they tell us what they need, we’ll figure out how to make it work.”

With that in mind, Noel has plans that will include the both the elite competitio­ns and age group racers in Montreal. He also has lots of back up and alternate plans. “I have a plan A, B, C, D – I have all kinds of options,” he says. He’s also ready for a scenario that sees the event restricted to elites only – he’s actually been able to get some insights from Hockey Canada on how they handled elite athletes coming to Canada for last year’s world junior championsh­ips.

Edmonton faces similar logistical challenges as it tries to work through the various scenarios that would allow it to host the World Triathlon World Championsh­ips in August – having to deal with a large elite field again, but an even bigger age-group contingent. It doesn’t bode well, though, for the Edmonton organizers that at the end of January it was announced that the Alberta Summer Games would be cancelled – that event was to take place in Lethbridge and had been postponed from 2020.

Across the country race organizers are coming up with contingenc­y plans similar to what Noel and other Quebec race directors are doing. Event organizers in Ontario are looking at a variety of race options that even include the 100-person limit that allowed the Canadian Pro Triathlon Championsh­ip and the Canadian Cross Training Club’s series of races to happen in 2020. Race directors in B.C. are preparing for group restrictio­ns as well, including wave starts and specific times for athletes participat­ing.

But what about the larger events?

“2021 will be hard for all events,” Noel says, noting that it will be much harder for races that attract thousands of athletes to get the OK from health authoritie­s. Will that change by August so that we’ll see Ironman events take place in Penticton and Mont-Tremblant?

With three of the most popular Ironman races in the world and two World Triathlon world championsh­ip races slated to take place in Canada over the next two years, Canada’s triathlon scene has typically been amongst the best in the world.

“Canada has expertise in all aspects of triathlon,” Noel points out, “whether that be in terms of officials, race directors or the community.”

With all that expertise and an open mindset from officials, Noel hopes that we’ll see triathlons of all distances and sizes take place in Canada this summer. He’s hardly alone on that front.—KM

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 ??  ?? OPPOSITE TOP AND ABOVE 2019 World Triathlon Montreal
OPPOSITE TOP AND ABOVE 2019 World Triathlon Montreal
2019 World Triathlon Edmonton
OPPOSITE BOTTOM 2019 World Triathlon Edmonton

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