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Rachel McBride overcomes tough conditions to take third at ITU Long Distance World Championship

Rachel McBride conquered massive waves, gusty winds, not to mention leg and stomach cramps, en route to winning the bronze medal in the women’s elite race at the Long Distance Triathlon World Championships in Oklahoma this morning.

She jumped onto the podium after clocking a time of six hours, 56 minutes, 05 seconds over the 4 kilometre swim, 120 kilometre bike and 30 kilometre run course.

“There is nothing like that feeling of finally getting to the finish chute, grabbing the Canadian flag and knowing you have done it. I am so proud to finish on the podium,” said McBride, who also won bronze at the 2013 Long Distance World Champs. “It is so incredible to be here representing Canada. It was just an awesome day. I can’t believe I’m on the podium.”

Great Britain’s Jodie Swallow ran her way into the winner’s circle with a golden time of 6:37:11. Switzerland’s Caroline Steffen celebrated the silver medal at 6:44:40.

As if the marathon distances weren’t enough facing many of the fittest athletes in the world. Heavy winds and big waves were thrown into the mix, making it the ultimate test of endurance.

“The swim was totally insane. It was so unbelievably rough, but I couldn’t believe how much I was enjoying myself out there,” said McBride. “I was fighting the waves on my way back. I felt super confident and was dropping people left, right and centre.”

After coming out of the water in the middle of the pack, McBride headed out onto the bike through Oklahoma’s countryside where she remained calm and steady despite huge wind gusts during the 120 kilometre bike course to set herself up for the final charge to podium in the flat and fast run course along Lake Hefner.

“I haven’t done a whole lot of running lately, but I settled into a really comfortable pace. I had some cramping for the first loop, but that was par for the course. The last 5 kilometres the Team Canada crowd was incredible and kept my spirits up to bring me home.”

Two other Canadian women also toed the line. Jenny Fletcher, of Red Deer, Atla., placed 12th at 7:40:48. Isabelle Rouleau, of Repentigny, Que., posted a time of 7:58:34 for 14th spot.

Meanwhile, Cody Beals was the top Canuck in the men’s elite race. Beals, of Fergus, Ont., overcame a challenging swim to climb his way into the final spot in the top-5 at 6:08:17.

“I struggled particularly in the swim. It was very choppy and not my strength. That was a career worse I’d say,” said the 26-year-old Beals. “I just stayed focus on the ride and run and salvaged a decent performance so I’m pleased.”

Beals entered second transition in 11th spot, but picked up six spots after making up serious time on the field over the run where he was also forced to serve a 30 second penalty in the final lap.

Beals finished just over eight minutes off the leading pace set by Sylvain Sudrie, of France, who captured the World Championship title with a time of 5:59:46.

Cyril Viennot, also of France, was second at 6:02:11. Matt Chrabot, of the United States, rounded out the top-three men on the podium, clocking-in at 6:06:13.

Taylor Reid, of Caledon, Ont., was the next best Canadian male in 12th spot at 6:47:24. Vancouver’s Nathan Killam finished 19th (7:09:11), while Quebec’s Antoine Jolicoeur Desroches did not finish.