Ironman Canada gets underway in Whistler this weekend
This weekend marks the second time that North America’s longest running Ironman race will be held at its new venue of Whistler, BC. The ski resort town is set to embrace the race and its 2,700 competitors.
Last year’s winner Trevor Wurtele is eager to defend his title on Sunday and all the pieces are place for that to happen. He told TMC, “It goes without saying my goal for this years race is defend my title from 2013 and take the win again. I know I can get a little bit more out of myself than I did last year. I do expect I’ll need to find the little bit more with the likes of Marino Vanhoenacker in the field, you can be assured he’ll stir things up on the bike. All said though, I can’t focus too much on what he and the others are going to be doing. I’ll just have to execute my race plan as best I can. Ideally that puts me in a position to have a shot at the win with 10km left to go on the run.” He also added, “So much of training for an Ironman is just staying healthy and injury free. Happily I’ve managed to do that for a good three or four years now, so fitness and confidence has been growing all the time.”
Wurtele will have some great Canadian company in the top ranks with Penticton pro Jeff Symonds in the line up. The 2013 Challenge Penticton winner knows how to win a big race. “I’m really looking forward to getting out there and racing on that epic course. I have heard Whistler put on an amazing show last year and I am excited to see where I stack up against a great field that includes Ironman world record holder Marino Vanhoenacker,” said Symonds. “It should be lots of fun and I really hope this Goldilocks is able to run faster then the bears recently spotted on the course!” he joked.
On the women’s side Canadian pros Christine Fletcher and Karen Thibodeau will both challenge the front. Fletcher was fourth in 2013.
The venue for racing is challenging and breathtaking. The day starts off with a two-lap swim in the shallow waters of Alta Lake at Rainbow Park. Athletes then ride south on the Sea-to-Sky Highway before climbing into the Callaghan Valley. Coming through Whistler athletes will meet roaring crowds cheering them on. The two-loop run course follows the meandering Valley Trail past Lost Lake and Green Lake and finishes tin the Whistler Olympic Plaza. There are 50 Kona qualifying slots on offer.