This weekend, on the 20th anniversary of IRONMAN Lake Placid, Doug Austin, a 50-54 age group triathlete from Barrie, Ontario, will make his IRONMAN Lake Placid debut.
Austin’s triathlon story began ten years ago at the age of 43. While watching Simon Whitfield win silver at the Beijing 2008 Olympics, Austin decided he would give triathlon a shot. He joined a local triathlon club, the Barrie Baydogs, and did his first sprint triathlon at the end of the 2008 season. “From then on, I was hooked,” says Austin. The Baydogs program has been a big part of Austin’s triathlon enjoyment and development, “I credit the coaches and the club for all the support they give their members, and their excellent training programs.” But it’s more than just the training sessions, it’s the triathlon community, “The club does an amazing job bringing us all together for social events,” says Austin.
Now 53 years old, Austin finds inspiration from the new world-leading Canadian triathletes. “Now it’s Lionel Sanders leading the Canadian charge, his tenacity and deep drive to win keeps me going late in my races,” says Austin. Since his first triathlon in 2008, Austin has been working his way up to the Ironman. In 2012, he was a volunteer at IRONMAN Lake Placid, volunteering in the bike penalty he soaked up all an Ironman event had to offer. Then in 2014, he became an “Ironman” at Mont-Tremblant.
This year Austin will return to Lake Placid, not as a volunteer, but as a triathlete looking to reach the finish line, and become a two-time Ironman finisher. “It’s truly the best reward crossing the finish line after all the training one needs to commit to if they plan to finish an Ironman,” says Austin. “The day I know will be full of crazy, intense emotions, and ridiculous challenges. But one of the greatest rewards for us (age groupers) is at the other end of the day, hearing your name be called out loud and clear with ‘YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!'”