The final Ironman Canada in Whistler, B.C. took place this past weekend. After a 7 year run, Ironman will return to where it all began; the home of Ironman triathlon in Canada, Penticton, B.C.
After a few years with extreme weather (either heat and wind or cold and rain), athletes racing this years Ironman Canada and Whistler 70.3 were sent off with near perfect conditions. Human Powered Racing had 7 athletes racing in total. 5 athletes in the 70.3 event and 2 racing the Ironman.
In the 70.3 event, Carole Richer knew that she was limited to only doing the swim due to a nagging achilles injury, but she did not let that deter her or prevent her from toeing her first 70.3 start line. Carole had a great swim and was able to spend the rest of the day cheering on her team mates at the HPR/B78 Cheer tents.
Diana Thaxter was back and racing to a 4th place age group finish after her strong performance at Ironman Santa Rosa in May. Having called Whistler home for many years, this was always a special race for Diana to take part in. Having many great performances here over the years this one was special for both her and team mate Sandy Wilson as they were in contact all day and hit the finish line side by side.
Sandy Wilson (using this race as a nice distraction from building a new physio clinic) finished just behind team mate Monique Moore (racing her 2nd 70.3 in just over a month). Mo and Sandy finished 7th and 8th respectively in the 45 – 49 age group.
Colette Hopkins, who is now on the journey to Ironman Canada in 2020, was taking part in only her 3rd ever 70.3 event. Colette was also doing her 2nd race in just over a month after completing the Victoria 70.3. Quad cramps on the last 6km of the run did not deter Colette and she was able to get home with a time of 6:15, only 6 minutes off of her Victoria time.
After a tough outing last year that saw a DNF next to his result, Jay Watson was back to write a new chapter in his Ironman story. Jay did more than that by not only finishing, but taking almost 90 minutes off of his previous finish time in 2017. With the mantra to “bike angry”, Jay did just that and took over 45 minutes off his previous best time on the bike. Jay finished in day light and had team mate Mark Hopkins waiting.
Mark Hopkins took on the beast that is Ironman last year despite the challenges of being a very busy prosthodontist as well as a very involved and active dad/husband. Having a supportive racing spouse was certainly a positive, but it was a strong will, great attitude and an ability to juggle responsibilities that really allowed Mark to have a fantastic day. With a finishing time just over 14 hours, Mark has set the bar for Colette and brother Derek racing Penticton next summer.
A special mention also goes out to Marion Young from Salt Spring Island who trains with coach Rob Dibden and qualified for the Ironman World Championship in Kona with her second place finish in the 60 – 64 age group.
We at Human Powered Racing look forward to being back in Penticton next year. Watch for details of the Spring Ironman Camp to be posted soon.