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Catching up with World Champion Beverly Watson

Beverly Watson, Ironman Age Group World Champion 2013 (W60-64)
Beverly Watson, Ironman Age Group World Champion 2013 (W60-64) – photos by Janet Watson

Is Beverly Watson of Priddis, Alberta the fastest 60 year old on the planet?

Her dominating age group victories in the women’s 60-64 age category at this year’s Ironman World Championship and the XTERRA World Championship certainly helps sway any argument to her favour. Watson also took age group honours at Ironman Texas and Ironman 70.3 Hawaii.

In the next issue of Triathlon Magazine Canada, we talk to this age group phenom. Here is a preview of that conversation.

Triathlon Magazine Canada: Congrats on your very successful year. Lets first talk about your Ironman World Championship race. Tell us about your race. I believe you had to come from behind and took the lead during the marathon? Did all go according to plan?

Beverly Watson: This my first age group win in Kona, so it was particularly thrilling! It went somewhat to plan. There were 5 or 6 potential winners on my watch list, and I had ankle surgery over the winter, so my running was very limited this year. I figured I had to be off the bike 30 minutes ahead to win and I was second off the bike! That was a shock. I knew there was one fast swimmer but I picked her off fairly early in the bike, but at the 60 mile mark a woman I didn’t know went by me like I was standing still–she biked 5:35!  I just had to stick to my plan and let her go hoping she was “burning too many matches.” Turns out that possibly was the case, but I didn’t see her when I ran past her, (no age group markings on the calf!) so I was going as hard as I could on the run hoping to hold off the freight train of better runners behind me, thinking I was second the whole time. My supporters were unable to get onto the website, so all they could tell me was that I was second off the bike.

My IT bands started seizing the second half of the run due to not enough running volume, so I had to stop and stretch a number of times, but just kept pushing as much as I could. Coming down the chute I was thinking second was pretty good, and it would be my first time on the podium until I heard Mike Reilly yelling “And your new age group World Champion!”

TMC: You also racked up your fifth age group title at the XTERRA World Championship. How was that experience? Do the ever feel sufficiently recovered to do that race after competing at Kona?

BW:  All I do is rest in between Ironman and XTERRA with maybe a few fun swims, and easy spins on the bike and oddly I have had my best results on the years I have done “the double”; perhaps because I always hold back on the first half of the bike thinking I might be fatigued and need to conserve energy. This year I was sick with laryngitis in between the 2 races, so I was especially conservative in the front half of the bike. At the halfway point I drop the hammer and have had much better runs when I do that, instead of redlining it the whole way. Or it may be just that the higher volume of training pays off. Hard to tell.

Bev Watson post-race at Kona 2013
Bev Watson post-race at Kona 2013

Read more about Beverly and her previous exploits as a member of the National Parachute Team in the next print issue of Triathlon Magazine Canada