While it did not shock us at Triathlon Magazine Canada, Penticton’s Jeff Symonds used his run prowess to plough through the field to capture third at the Ironman 70.3 World Championships.
We caught up with Jeff for these post race comments:
Heading into the Ironman 70.3 World Championships
“The race was a massive breakthrough for me. I was coming off a solid effort at Lake Stevens where I finished third with the fastest run split. I work part time at The Bike Barn in Penticton and had put some solid hours working at the expo as well as some solid hours in cheering and supporting my girlfriend in her first Ironman. Sleep and training really suffered and I felt pretty drained from everything. I really considered pulling the plug on things, but decided that the race would be a great learning experience. My expectations were simply just to swim bike and ride my race and see where everything stack up at the end. This is exactly what I did and was totally in the zone.”
I was so caught up in the moment and focused on what I needed to do that I didn’t even get excited when I passed guys on the run, I was just focused on getting myself to the finish line as fast as possible. I think the key was that I didn’t get excited at the start of the run; I ran my first mile in control. I also understood the importance of the World Championships and how a good result here could literally change my life. I think I dug a little extra motivation to get ugly out there on the lap from being someone who was still working part time and had not had that breakthrough yet. I was willing to really make it hurt. It seemed pretty surreal when I moved into the top 5 and even more so when I moved into the top 3. Even though I had a bit of a gap I sprinted for the finish line as fast as I could be cause I couldn’t believe that I could actually finish on the Podium at a World Championships. I thought at that point that something was going happen, that someone was going to pass me. When I hit the line that was the moment where I first realized that not only was getting on a World Championships Podium possible this early in my career but that it just happened. The finish line photos sums up how excited I was upon this realization.
The Aftermath – The Accomplishment, Penticton, What’s next?
I have always thought that the beauty of triathlon, and Long Distance Triathlon, is that on September 11 over 1500 athletes had a “shot at the title”. We all had the opportunity going into the race to be World Champ, regardless of how things went before hand. Chris Lieto proved this at Ironman Canada 2005 when he beat out the best triathlete in world at that point Simon Lessing for the win. I was the biker in front of the third place male in that race and it is what inspired me to become pursue triathlon at an elite level. It was a huge honour to be on the podium with him on Sunday. I have been blessed with an amazing support network here in Penticton and that is not only the key to my success but also true of the great triathlete like Tom Evans, Jonathan Caron, Kevin Cutjar, Olly Piggin, Jordan Rapp and Jill Savege who’s footsteps I am trying to follow. I have spent this past week contacting and thanking about a hundred people who have helped me get here. The race has been huge for not only my confidence as an athlete but also my confidence in the city I love and have grown up in since I was 4 years old, Penticton, as a location to train to be the best in the world. It’s now time to work hard in training and to secure sponsorship, so that I can work even harder and comeback next year with the fitness to give myself a chance to win.