Sunny skies and one of the hottest days of the summer set the stage for the Subaru Sooke Triathlon this past weekend.
In addition to the volunteer Race Committee members who have been planning for several months, the many volunteers from the Sooke, Otter Point, Shirley and Jordan River communities made the weekends’s events a smashing success. More than 300 volunteers from our communities, ranging from two to 92 years old, spent this weekend ensuring that triathletes from around the world had a wonderful and memorable experience. A very big thankyou to all of the volunteers for doing an excellent job! And a very special thank you to the generous volunteer who gave the shoes off her feet to a triathlete who was out on the run course in stocking feet because she had forgotten her running shoes on race day.
The race weekend started off on Saturday morning with a pancake breakfast generously hosted by the Sooke Lions. Following breakfast was the Kids’ Run, sponsored by Danone and presented by the Sooke Family Resource Center, with many families and spectators in attendance to support the young athletes. The Kids’ Run featured two events at John Phillips Park: one lap (750 metres) for the eight and under age group and two laps (1.5km) for the 9-12 age group. The Kids’ Run was the highlight of the weekend for many onlookers.
Following the Kids’ Run, special guest Tara Costa, a former competitor on the reality TV show The Biggest Loser, gave a motivational speech. She spoke, among other things, about the importance of being active. Costa also participated in the Sprint distance triathlon the next day.
The weekend’s other special guest was Acting Mayor Maja Tait, who took part in weekend’s events. Tait was on hand to start both events at the Kids’ Run and took charge of handing out participant ribbons to all of the Kids’ Run competitors. She was also in attendance at the triathlon pre-race meeting to give a warm welcome to the many triathletes. In addition, Tait lent a hand to former Sooke Mayor Janet Evans and race sponsor Bob Saunders at the triathlon finish line on Sunday.
Triathlon festivities included three races, each with swim, bike and run components. The Half Iron race distance consists of a 2 km swim, 90 km bike and 21.1 km run. The Olympic race distance consists of 1.5 km swim, 40 km bike and 10 km run. The Sprint race distance consists of 500 m swim, 17 km bike and 5 km run. Competitors could choose to complete all three components of a race on their own, or form relay teams of two or three athletes. The event, which has been taking place in Sooke for the past several years, is estimated to have a local economic impact of $1-2 million.
On Sunday morning, the field of close to 500 triathlon competitors were greeted at an immaculately groomed Camp Barnard by a team of Canadian Reserves, led by Lieutenant Craig Patzer, who were guarding a howitzer cannon with a TSN helicopter flying overhead. The cannon was fired once to indicate the start of the Pro Chase. The Pro Chase is an event where the professional female athletes begin 15 minutes before the professional men and the first athlete to cross the finish line is the overall winner of the race. This year’s Pro Chase winner was Canadian female triathlete Magali Tisseyre, who hails from Quebec.
Congratulations to all Sooke triathletes who participated in the weekend races. Brian Bell raced in the Half Iron distance. Owen Stampflee, Kris Bucci, Murray Benson, Tara Poirier, Brigette Church, and Cathy Whyte raced in the Olympic distance. Danny Eddy, Emma Pridgeon, Natacha Lemire, Len Church, Nichole Tipper, and Angelica Whitaker raced in the Sprint distance. Sooke athletes also participated on relay teams, Team Scatt and Team Devocht, in the Sprint distance.
Kudos to Wyatt (a grade 10 student at EMCS) who completed both the swim and run components of his team’s relay. He started off at Young Lake for the swim and then made his way down to Transition 2 at John Phillips Park to await the arrival of his teammate from the bike so that he could finish off their relay with the run portion of the race.
Special congratulations to speedy Sooke triathlete Danny Eddy who placed first in the M60-69 category!
Submitted by Matt Mortenson, Race Director