Competitors plunge into the water at Young Lake at the start of the 2010 Sooke Subaru Triathlon.

Sooke Subaru Triathlon gets TSN coverage

Sports network to film in Sooke during August 7 triathlon

It is a ways off yet, but the folks who are bringing the Subaru Sooke Triathlon to town are pretty excited.

To add to the excitement of the triathlon itself, is the fact that Canada’s sports leader, TSN will be televising all the action on Sunday, August 7.

Paul Regensburg, director of the Subaru West Triathlon Series said it was a tremendous accomplishment to get this network out to a small community like Sooke.

“I think it’s incredibly hard to get national coverage for any sporting events, especially ones in Sooke,” said Regensburg.

He said they had worked very hard to get TSN onboard and TSN was open to Sooke because of how they “pitched” the area.

“It was the west coast beauty and the visuals it would provide,” he said. “I think it’ll put Sooke on the map to be honest. When people from across the country see the visuals we highlight like Whiffin Spit, West Coast Road, the new hotel, it’s going to show up really nicely on television.”

He said TSN will also do features on Sooke. Regensburg said kudos had to go to the District of Sooke and Subaru.

“Those two bodies are the driving forces behind it as well, without those two groups no way TSN would come,” he said.

Laura Byrne, the district’s engineering technologist / environmental coordinator, said that this initiative came from an Economic Development Commission (EDC) decision to try and host the Ironman 70.5 Triathlon.

Originally $50,000 for three years was relegated for the Ironman, but the Ironman was not ready for Sooke in 2011.

In 2010 Lifesport came to the district and said they would pull Vancouver coverage of the triathlon in favour of Sooke to ready Sooke for the Ironman potentially in 2012. The district will spend $25,000 of the Ironman budget of $50,000 for the Sooke Subaru Triathlon in August. It will be earmarked for the TSN coverage.

“We get a lot of value for our money,” said Byrne.

She said a couple of 30 second commercials will be shot which can be sold to local businesses and developers to recoup some of the cost. The district will also have a lot of editorial control giving Sooke the opportunity to do some Sooke “branding” in the three 30-second features which will run during the hour-long coverage of the Sooke Subaru Triathlon.

“It will be broadcast to 1.2 million Canadians over the next year,” said Byrne. “The EDC and the District of Sooke both saw the economic development potential for this.”

The race will feature $15,000 in cash and prizes for the pro field and an exciting “chase” format where the professional women will start first and the men will start later. There will be prizes and cash for the top three overall.

Regensburg said the men and women should reach the finish line at the same time. One of the visions is to have a helicopter get shots of the runners on Whiffin Spit.

“For a community the size of Sooke, this is a coup,” said Regensburg.

About 500 amateur athletes of all ages will participate in the event. In addition to the race coverage, the TSN show will feature Vancouver Olympic gold medal skier Ashleigh McIvor. McIvor tore her MCL at the X-Games and will use this race as part of her rehabilitation. In addition, Olympic gold medal coach Lance Watson will give informative tips on triathlon training and explains what the athletes are experiencing on the show.

“We’re excited about the new hotel as well,” said Regensburg. They plan to centre many of the triathlon activities around the hotel, like registration, race activities and a pre-race sport and wellness trade show.