It’s sad news for Canadian long-distance triathlon fans – on Monday Heather and Trevor Wurtele announced that they are retiring from professional racing after an impressive 12-year career. We’ll have more on the couple in our January issue of Triathlon Magazine Canada, but wanted to make sure we acknowledged the news online before then.
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Since Ironman Canada, Trevor and I have been off adventuring and enjoying life without a training schedule. It has given us plenty of time to reflect and to be certain that retiring from professional triathlon is what we want to do. We’ve had long, successful, careers pursuing the sport with 100% commitment and are now eager for something else. We are incredibly happy to have taken the leap in 2009 by quitting our jobs, selling our home, living in an RV and going after our dreams full-on. We honestly never imagined that we’d achieve all that we did. Team Wurtele has endured our share of heartbreaks, frustrations, and disappointments, but mostly it has been a story of great success both personally and professionally. We’ve worked hard, been committed to our goals, taken ownership of the process, operated with integrity, and taken both success and failure in stride. It’s a funny thing, wanting to feel recognized for your accomplishments in sport, but also realizing that race results are simply how you judge your performance as an athlete. Nothing more, nothing less. They are not tied your value as a human being. The things that truly give meaning to sport, and life in general, are highly personal and have nothing to do with that type of external validation. The less we focus on what other people think, the happier we are. And yet… can we still please acknowledge our impressive body of work? Why even write a post like this instead of just disappearing, satisfied, into oblivion? We’ve struggled with this question for the last month. I guess it’s simply because our careers as a triathletes matter a great deal to us. Probably some other people care too. That’s fair enough, right? We poured so much energy into the sport for the last 12 years and have some things to celebrate. And many, many people to thank. Thank you family and friends for your love and support no matter what. Thank you to our past and present sponsors for providing us with the tools necessary to try to be the best in the world. Thank you to our peers for being such fierce competitors and for constantly redefining how people can race triathlon. Thank you to all our fans for caring. XO
“We are incredibly happy to have taken the leap in 2009 by quitting our jobs, selling our home, living in an RV and going after our dreams full-on,” Heather wrote on Facebook. “We honestly never imagined that we’d achieve all that we did.”
“First, I have to give a big, awkward, virtual hug to my coach Paulo Sousa. He knocked on the RV after Ironman Arizona in 2010 and basically said ‘I’m impressed by your commitment. I think we could do much better as a team,’” Heather continues. “His mission was to create a high performance training environment and we joined the Triathlon Squad for its inaugural training camp in Las Cruces, New Mexico, in 2011. That year started off with a bang when I won Ironman St. George, Ironman Lake Placid, finished 8th at the Ironman World Champs in Kona and 7th at the 70.3 World Championships Las Vegas. He has been in my corner ever since.”
Over her impressive career Heather won seven Ironman races, 25 half-distance events and finished on world championship podiums four times. She also turned down a chance to compete at this year’s Ironman World Championship, where she finished eighth in 2011, after she won Ironman Canada in July. Earlier this year she also won Ironman 70.3 Campeche for the third year in a row. (Click here for a complete list of Heather’s results.)
Trevor took Ironman Canada in 2013 and has won three other half-distance races, while finishing “second at an embarrassing number of half iron distance races.” This year he also won Xterra Portland. (Click here for a complete list of Trevor’s results.)
The two will be sadly missed in the professional ranks of our sport. Beyond their impressive results, they were popular with fans, sponsors and journalists alike because of their easy-going, open and accessible personalities.
Heather’s thank you to Trevor serves, in many ways, as a description of herself, too:
“You are hilarious, terminally honest, modest to a fault and have always helped me keep perspective,” she wrote.
The good news is that we got to enjoy having Trevor and Heather Wurtele as part of our sport for so long. The bad news is that we won’t get to see them racing around the world any longer.