The exciting new elite triathlon series formed by Chris McCormack in 2017, is back for another season and it’s bigger. Starting Friday, September 28th, the second season of the Super League Triathlon (SLT) Championship race series begins in Jersey, the small island in the English Channel.
Earlier this summer, short and long course professional triathletes had the opportunity to qualify for the championship races at two different locations – Poznan, Poland and Penticton, Canada. In Poland, three Canadians qualified – Tyler Mislawchuk, Desirae Ridenour and Matthew Sharpe. Unfortunately, the race in Penticton was smoked out by the hundreds of forest fires in interior British Columbia. As a result, only one event took place over the race weekend – the 15K time trial. Both the men’s and women’s time trial was won by Canadians Nathan Killam and Rachel McBride.
Joanna Brown racing to a bronze medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Photo: Delly Carr
Tyler Mislawchuk and Matthew Sharpe
Desirae Ridenour. Photo: Darren Wheeler
Nathan Killam. Photo Courtesy of Super League Triathlon Penticton
Rachel McBride at the 2018 Super League Triathlon in Penticton. Photo: Super League Triathlon Penticton
With the race cancelled, the event officials had to decide who would qualify. Their solution was to send all the professionals from Penticton to Jersey and have them race to qualify for the remaining Championship series races.
This means a number of Canadians will be competing in Jersey this weekend. In the men’s race, there’ll be Killam, Taylor Reid, Tyler Mislawchuk and Matthew Sharpe. On the women’s side, it’ll be Joanna Brown and Desirae Ridenour. Rachel McBride would have been here, but she’s preparing for the IRONMAN World Championship in Kona on October 13th.
The racing this weekend will be different for Killam and Reid, both of whom are considered to be long course specialists. That said, Reid did get his start in short course racing and going back to his roots this weekend. “I’m so excited but nervous at the same time. This will be by far the strongest field I’ve ever raced against. But that also means there is no pressure on me,” says Reid.
Both Reid and Killam will try to earn a top-five placing relative to the Penticton professionals to earn a contract for the season. “Hopefully, I’ll have the legs and get in the top five. It would be awesome to get that contract and be able to race in other places like Malta, Mallacora and Singapore,” says Killam.
The race format this weekend will include the Triple Mix and Enduro.
On Saturday, the athletes will compete in the triple mix. Made up of three separate races and only a 10-minute break between them, the racing will test the athletes’ versatility. The first race is a 300m swim, 5K bike and 2K run. Ten minutes later, the order is reversed. In the final race, the athletes begin on the bike, then swim and finish on the run. Whoever accumulates the best overall finishes across the three races is crowned the winner.
The Enduro follows the Triple Mix on Sunday. Considered to be the most challenging format of them all, the Enduro is non-stop swim-bike-run-swim-bike-run-swim-bike-run. At the end of each discipline, two athletes are eliminated. The winner is the first one to cross the line at the end of the sequence.
SLT has assembled an impressive field of talent this weekend with 64 triathletes in total. Both the men’s and women’s 2017 series champions, Richard Murray and Katie Zaferes will be competing this weekend. They’ll be joined by 2018 world champions, Mario Mola and Vicky Holland. The race also features Jacob Birtwhistle, Ashleigh Gentle, Kristian Blummenfelt, Flora Duffy, Henri Schoeman, Nicola Spirig, the Brownlees and Rachel Klamer.
You can watch the racing live on the Super League Triathlon website on Saturday and Sunday beginning at 10 AM EST.