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Getting to know Dylan Gleeson

Photo courtesy of Dylan Gleeson
Gleeson racing at 2016 Ironman 70.3 St. George. Credit: Jan Martin

In his short five years in triathlon, Noth Vancouver’s Dylan Gleeson has gone from amateur with no background in swimming, biking or running to a 9:13:59 debut Ironman time, where he was the first overall age-grouper at Ironman Canada in 2014. He earned his pro card shortly after and this year feels confident he can deliver some results he’s proud of in the half and full distance.

Gleeson didn’t get into the sport the way most do. “I had no interest in triathlon, really,” he says. “But back in 2011 I was working with someone who was training for an Ironman. For Christmas, they gave my wife and I a gift card for sprint triathlon training clinic. We signed up and were hooked right away.”

Gleeson and his wife, Jenna. Credit: Carsten Lapointe
Gleeson and his wife, Jenna. Credit: Carsten Lapointe

The 31-year-old still has a job outside of triathlon, but the sport has become a serious focus. “Right away I got a great coach who has set me up well over the last few years,” he says. “I also dedicated myself to researching the sport and how to train smart. I’ve been lucky to have not run into any injuries yet, so training’s going really well for me right now.”

Gleeson’s first race of the 2016 season was Ironman 70.3 St. George last month. “It was fun to compete at one the most competitive races of the year on one of the toughest courses,” he says. “I loved pushing myself out there.”

He came 19th and says he’s happy with the result considering the stacked field, but is looking to build on that with this weekend’s Ironman 70.3 Victoria.

“Victoria is an amazing race and we have tons of local talent showing up this year. There are a lot of strong guys in the pro field who don’t race each other a lot so it’s going to make for an exciting race. I’m also looking forward to lining up against athletes who have been pro since before I even started triathlon. I know it’s going to be a few years before I can bridge the gap between myself and Trevor Wurtele or Taylor Reid (who are racing this weekend). But I’ve done the race before as an age grouper and my main goal is to improve upon that result.”

After Victoria, Gleeson will be looking ahead to Ironman Mont-Tremblant in August. He enjoys training for both the half and full distance in a single year and says it’s working well for his overall improvement in the sport.

“Training for the half distance translates really well for the full,” he explains. “You don’t want to make the mistake of doing too much long, slow stuff in preparation for an Ironman.”

Credit: Ken Anderson
Credit: Ken Anderson

For Gleeson to get more competitive at the half distance, he knows he needs to get faster on the swim and continue to build his run.

“It makes a huge difference to be up in the front pack on the swim because then you’re biking with the strongest athletes,” he explains. “In the full distance it’s a little different, but I have put a lot of work into my swim with this in mind for the half.”

He also has stepped up his running this year, which he says is currently his weakest leg. “I’ve found that my body responds best to frequency with running. I run every day, but that covers a variety of workouts from hard stuff on the track to longer, easy runs.”

Gleeson’s been working hard and looks forward to testing himself against some of Canada’s best in Victoria this weekend. We look forward to seeing this rookie pro improve over the next few years, and wish him and the rest of Canadians good luck at this Sunday.


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