Dark clouds, heavy rain and the occasional flash of lightning greeted athletes as they arrived for the Tomatoman, the main event of the Leamington Triathlon Weekend. This year’s race saw a record crowd as not only because it was a 2013 World Age Group Championship qualifier but also because it was host to the Ontario Spring Triathlon Championship. After a brief delay, the clouds cleared and the pancake flat course (750m swim, 20k bike, 5k run) ensured that racing would be fast from the gun.
Much of the buzz coming into the event surrounded the return of local rising star Lionel Sanders. After a successful spring Duathlon campaign which included wining the US National Duathlon Championships, Lionel showed that his swim has vastly improved in the last 8 months. He used this improved form to take the victory by over 3 minutes in a time of 57:24. This result bettered the course record previously held by 5 time winner James Loaring by over a minute and a half. The podium was rounded out by Ryan Power of Komoka and Jackson Laundry of Haydon. On the women’s side, Amanda Switzer of London used a strong bike leg to power her way to the victory in a time of 1:09:26. Also on the podium were Katie Wallace of Toronto and Katie Hicks of Windsor.
Former record holder James Loaring, Head Coach of Loaring Personal Coaching had this to say about today’s action. “It has been impressive seeing the Leamington Triathlon Weekend evolve over the past twenty years. A lot of Canadian triathlon history has developed in Leamington. The 2012 event featured two rising local talents: Harrow’s Lionel Sanders broke the Tomatoman Sprint Triathlon course record, and LaSalle’s Garrick Loewen finished 4th Overall at age 17. The organizing committee did a fantastic job and calmly showed it’s experience during set-up during an early-morning thunderstorm that threatened to cancel the Sunday event. The Leamington Triathlon Weekend is a wonderful triathlon destination. In addition to offering an event for all ages and abilities, families can enjoy, the local community at numerous attractions, such as Seacliffe Park, Point Pelee National Park, and Colasantis Tropical Gardens.”
The organizing committee would like to thank the all the volunteers that have helped to make the event a success. To date, the Tomatoman has raised over $30,000 for local fitness initiatives in the community. Without their effort this would not have been possible.