Toronto is gearing up to welcome the over 80 elite triathletes from around the world racing the Pan American Cup at the Toronto Triathlon Festival on Saturday. As a test even for the Pan Am Games, the race has drawn some big names wanting to scope out the venue for 2015. The elite female athletes will race at 7:00 am and the elite male athletes, at 9:30 am.
Sunday will see the open Olympic, sprint and duathlon events, with the duathlon doubling as the National Championship. On hand all weekend is Olympian and TTF spokesperson Simon Whitfield. The Toronto Triathlon Festival has partnered with Won With One, a Canadian organization that helps the blind and physically challenged, as part of ongoing efforts to make triathlons more accessible. Whitfield, will act as a guide for Terry Gardner, a blind participant, for the race on Sunday. Earlier this month Gardner said, “Racing with Simon is more than an honour. . .His support has made me and my teammates feel as though we matter. It’s an indescribable feeling to know that he’s joining our team and will be there to help me get to the finish line.”
“I believe sport is about accessibility and participation,” said Whitfield. “It’s important to give as many people as possible the ability to join in on the fun.”
One of the main features of the Toronto Triathlon Festival is its urban race route. Participants ride up the Don Valley Parkway and run along Toronto’s harbourfront path and through the city’s core.
“The Toronto Triathlon Festival has something for everyone,” explained TTF President, Jeff Chong. “Our aim is to make both the race itself, as well as our beautiful city, accessible to both new and experienced triathletes.”