Previewing the 2015 Barrelman Triathlon
The second edition of the Niagara Falls Barrelman Triathlon takes place this coming Sunday September 20th, and with the assembled field of racers, combined with the anticipated cool and calm weather conditions, some fast racing is expected.
At the inaugural edition, Canada’s Lionel Sanders and Kristen Marchant claimed the overall titles. Marchant returns to defend her title with the rare opportunity for her parents to watch her live and in person on the race course, while the men’s title is up for grabs as Sanders prepares for his first appearance at the Ironman World Championship in October.
“I am really looking forward to participating in Barrelman again this year and would obviously love to defend my title, but looks like some stiff competition has signed up to make it a challenge,” said Marchant. “This is the start of a block of four half iron-distance races I have in the next month and a half so I am looking to see where my fitness stands and look for areas that can be improved over that time. Training has not come without its setbacks as I seem to be rather injury prone, but that has simply meant more cross training and I still feel fit and ready to race.”
Marchant hopes to recapture the magic of her breakout performance (4:19:08) last year, but she will be challenged by a few strong runners, so things could get interesting on Barrelman’s picturesque half marathon course. American Christine Lynch, is an All-American duathlete and ultra runner (Watchung Ultra Winter 50k Champion). Guelph’s Emma Plater, makes her debut at this distance but enters with some top performances at the Olympic distance, including a win at the Gravenhurst Olympic Triathlon Champion. While, Leah Sherriff, an amateur based out of Ottawa, is a fast runner and can be in the mix with a good bike ride, she is currently the top ranked Canadian 30-34 female on the Ironman 70.3 circuit.
The men will be chasing each other and Sander’s course record time of 3:44:55 (28:45 swim, 2:01:26 on a 92 km course but this year it’s back to 90km, 1:11:35 run).
Leading the way for the men is Kitchener’s Alex VanderLinden. VanderLinden finished second at Ironman 70.3 Muskoka, and is the reigning Rose City Half Triathlon Champion. He should exit the water at Welland International Flatwater Centre at or near the front and maintain that position the rest of the way. If he happens to be trailing after the bike, his outstanding run legs will quickly put him back into contention for the lead.
A few Canadians will also look to grab the men’s title. Toronto’s Mikael Staer Nathan has shown fine form this season, especially on the run, with wins at Bala Falls and Toronto Island. After a DNF at last year’s Barrelman, he’s targeted this race to avenge that performance. Richmond Hill’s Andrew Bolton, the Ontario Provincial Olympic Triathlon Champion and Rose City Half Triathlon Runner-up, will surely throw down an impressive bike split, but can he get to the front and stay there for the run? Kingston’s Billy Bostad, the Garrison Olympic Triathlon Champion, and Kingston Long Course Triathlon Runner-Up, makes his half iron distance debut. Ottawa’s Jordan Monnink is a first year pro, and finished behind VanderLinden in fourth at Ironman 70.3 Muskoka. Jim Sunners, a Constable with the Niagara Regional Police Service, finished fifth overall at last year’s Barrelman, and should be in top form as he prepares for another appearance at the Ironman World Championships next month.
A quality field of Americans have made the trip north to bring back the men’s title stateside. Topping the list is Montana’s Andrew Drobeck, a full time professional firefighter for the city of Missoula, is the current Full Vineman Champion, and Pacific Crest Half Champion. New York’s John Hirsch is an experienced pro triathlete with a few top top ten Ironman performances and recently placed 7th at Israman 113. While Philadelphia’s Jack Braconnier makes his first trip to Canada and has a seventh place finish at the 2014 Beach2Battleship Full on his resume.
In the Bike/Run race, Windsor’s Daryl Flacks returns to defend his title.
A $5000 prize purse is on the table for all athletes regardless of their professional or age group status. The prize money will be awarded to the top 5 male and female athletes, as follows: 1st – $1,000, 2nd – $750, 3rd – $500, 4th – $150, 5th – $100.
You can follow the event live on race day.