As we look back at 2019, we celebrate 11 spectacular achievements by Canadian triathletes including age-group and paratriathlon world championships, dazzling double-deca events, WTS records and outstanding distance performances both here in Canada and abroad.
Sanders rounds out 2019 with two big wins
After a year that was almost completely derailed due to injury, Lionel Sanders bounced back from a tough day at the Ironman World Championship with a pair of back-to-back titles. After a solid win at Ironman 70.3 Indian Wells-La Quinta, Sanders found himself in a shootout on the speedway at Challenge Daytona. After riding up a storm against the sport’s fastest full-distance cyclist, Andrew Starykowicz, Sanders then found himself running against a fellow world champion, Spain’s Pablo Dapena Gonzalez. Sanders would finally run clear over the final few hundred metres of the race, which he described as “one of the best battles” of his career.
Joanna Brown takes bronze medal at WTS Bermuda
In April Joanna Brown became the first Canadian in five years to reach a WTS podium, taking third at the ITU Triathlon World Series event in Bermuda.
Read more about Joanna Brown’s performance of the year here.
Jordan Bryden wins Ultraman World Championship
After winning Ultraman Canada last summer, Jordan Bryden led the Ultraman world champs in Hawaii from the start, taking the title by 16 minutes. We recapped this year’s race here.
Jessica Tuomela takes bronze at Paratriathlon World Championships
Former Paralympic swimming medalist Jessica Tuomela turned to triathlon a few years ago and has enjoyed a meteoric rise to the top of the sport. Shortly after she started to work with her new guide, Marianne Hogan, the pair took their first paratriathlon world series medal in Montreal. Tuomela moved up a spot from her fourth-place finish at the 2018 worlds to capture the bronze in 2019.
Shanda Hill becomes the first woman to finish a double-Deca triathlon
Vernon, B.C.’s Shanda Hill became the first Canadian to complete the double-Deca triathlon in October in Leon, Mexico. The double-Deca race is an exact equivalent of 20 Ironman races: 76 km of swimming, 3,600 km of biking and 840 km of running. The event in Leon took place from Oct. 5 until Nov. 2. Athletes had 28 days to finish. They started every day at 7:00 am. The swim took place in a 50-metre pool.
Hill, 37, finished the event in 646 hours, 12 minutes and 20 seconds (just over 26 days). Of the 14 athletes in the race, she was the second woman and fifth overall.
You can read more about Shanda Hill’s impressive race here.
Cody Beals defends and sets a new course record at Ironman Mont-Tremblant
After spending much of the early part of the season injured, Cody Beals put together one of the most spectacular Ironman races ever seen on Canadian soil. Trailing no less a closer than Lionel Sanders onto the run, Beals ripped through a 2:42:28 run split that saw him pass Sanders with seven km to go, finishing the day with a sub-eight-hour performance (7:58:34) to continue his unbeaten streak at Ironman races.
Margie Ritchie takes double-gold … again
For the second year in a row Edmonton native Margie Ritchie took gold at the standard-distance duathlon worlds, then followed that up with another gold at the standard-distance Triathlon World Championships in Lausanne, Switzerland. Loreen Pindera profiled Ritchie in our November issue – she is a moving force of nature who has been claiming our Triathlete of the Year awards for her exploits for over a decade – she was included in our 2009 awards as age group triathlete of the year.
Paula Findlay captures Challenge Daytona
Duplicating Lionel Sanders’ impressive season-ending win spree, another Edmontonian, 2012 Olympican Paula Findlay, took her second major title in a couple of weeks, following up a win at Ironman 70.3 Indian Wells-La Quinta with a huge day at Challenge Daytona. After riding with Lisa Norden and Lucy Charles-Barclay, Findlay found herself running stride-for-stride with the three-time Kona runner-up, but managed to pull clear to take the win over Charles-Barclay. You can read our race recap here.
Tara Norton defends her Ultraman World Championship title
After finishing second at the Ultraman in Hawaii a few years ago with a stress fracture, Toronto’s Tara Norton came back two years later to take the title in 2018. She successfully defended her crown in 2019, overcoming both the tough conditions and a strong challenge on the final day’s double-marathon to take the win by just eight minutes. We recapped her incredible weekend of racing here.
Stefan Daniel takes fourth world title
Last week we told you about Stefan Daniel’s amazing run at the U-Sports Cross Country Championships, where he helped his Calgary Dino’s team to a second-straight national championship … despite the fact that he was running with a navicular stress fracture. As good as Daniel’s running season was (he captured the CanWest regional cross country title), his tri season was even better.
He started his season on March 9 with a win at the CAMTRI Paratriathlon American Championships in Sarasota. He continued his winning ways with Paratriathlon world series titles in Yokohama, Japan and Montreal. In August he took the test event in Tokyo. He capped that amazing season off, though, with a huge win when the stakes were highest, taking his fourth world title in Lausanne in September.
Tyler Mislawchuk takes the Tokyo Test Event
Canadian triathlon fans were on top of the world when Tyler Mislawchuk became the first Canadian man to reach a WTS podium with his bronze-medal performance at WTS Montreal. Then the Oak Bluff, Man. native took things to a whole new level with a dramatic sprint win at the Tokyo Test Event, showing the world that he’s very much a contender for a medal at next year’s Olympics. We wrote about Mislawchuk’s amazing performance here.