Home > Personalities

2021 Triathlete of the Year: Elite Women (Long Distance)

Tamara Jewett proved herself to be the sport's top-ranked runner in 2021

Photo by: Kevin Mackinnon

In 2018 Triathlon Magazine Canada’s Cam Mitchell wrote “If (Tamara) Jewett’s debut season is any indication of her potential, it would seem she has a bright future in triathlon.” That year, her first full season of triathlon racing, the former University of Toronto cross-country and track runner who had represented Canada internationally during her running career, won Ironman 70.3 Muskoka and the Barrelman Niagara Falls races amongst other titles.

Last year we watched Jewett blast through the 10 km run to take the Canadian Professional Triathlon Championship, setting the stage for an incredible 2021.

Jewett and Laundry top Canadian Pro Triathlon Championship

Without access to pools in the spring of 2020 and again in 2021, Jewett honed her swim stroke at a pond in her family’s property, waiting for the ice to melt then swimming in near-freezing water. (This year she upgraded to a thermal wetsuit for the ordeal.) Her dedication proved worth the effort – in 2019 she was ranked 324th in the PTO swimming rankings, moved up to 276th in 2020 and all the way up to 46th this year.

Lionel Sanders’ “big move” earns him an extra $30,000 in PTO Bonus

She had a similar rise on the bike, moving from 307th in 2019 to 69th this year. It hardly comes as a surprise to see where her development has really shone – the run. With seemingly little to improve on that front, she moved from 164th in the 2019 run ranking to first this year.

That ranking came thanks to a series of impressive runs, highlighted by her 1:14:19 half marathon that saw her surge to the win at Ironman 70.3 Timberman, and a 1:13:08 half-marathon split, the fastest ever run by a woman at a half-distance race, to take a close second at Ironman 70.3 Augusta.

Jewett sets world-best half-Ironman run record

Add to those performances her runner-up finish at Ironman 70.3 Indian Wells and her 13th-place finish at the Ironman 70.3 World Championship and you see why it was easy to name Jewett our Triathlete of the Year in this category.

Paula Findlay. Photo: Tommy Zaferes

Paula Findlay hangs tough

Had her huge win at the PTO 2020 Championship come a month later things would have been very different for this award. After taking the big win in Daytona last December, the Edmonton native struggled with injuries, but still managed to represent the international team at the Collins Cup, take fourth at Ironman 70.3 St. George and a huge win at Ironman 70.3 California. Findlay rounded out the season 10th in the PTO standings, seven spots ahead of Jewett.