Marathoner Brigette Church

Family of four a triathlon force to be reckoned with

Couple entering Sooke Subaru Triathlon

Not only is Sooke resident Brigette Church a triathlete, but she’s helped raise a family of them.

Church and her husband Len are both entering the Sooke Subaru International Triathlon on Sunday. It’s the second one for Brigette, and the first for Len although he has completed a different triathlon previously.

“He’s doing the sprint (distance) and I’m doing the Olympic, I did the sprint last year,” said Church.

A nurse in the neuroscience department at Victoria General Hospital, and also a biochemistry student at the University of Victoria, she is rarely sitting still. Especially since she also juggles raising her two boys Wyatt, 13, and Austin, 11, both of whom at their young ages can already be considered established athletes.

“Both of my boys have done a triathlon already,” said Church. “We just keep our family really fit — our 13-year-old son is going to run his third half-marathon in August.”

She definitely looks the part in a bright red form-fitting tank top stretched over her muscular frame. Four to five days a week, her and her husband go for runs around Sooke at 4:30 a.m., sometimes even bringing a son or two along.

But it’s not just a case of the parents teaching the children, sometimes it’s the other way around.

“(The kids) have both been swimming with Coho (Swim Club) for six years and that’s how I learned to swim, by being in the lane beside them and listening to the coach.”

Surprisingly, swimming is not her weakest triathlon event — nor is running, where Church is an accomplished marathon competitor — but rather biking. Working in neurosciences she said she has seen more than her fair share of head injuries and is “a much more timid cyclist because of that.”

Her goal in the next few triathlon events is to reach the half-iron level, and in about five years hopefully be at the point where she is able to do a full ironman. Church is especially excited about the prospect of Sooke one day hosting one, since she is used to live in Penticton where the Subaru Ironman Canada is currently held.

“It’s a privilege to be able to run a race like that in your own town. Usually we’re driving all over the place to take in marathons, and so to have something like that here is wonderful.”

You can catch Brigette, Len and the rest of the triathletes on Aug. 7. Visit www.triseries.ca/sooke/event_schedule.php for exact start times.

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