Started in 2007 as part of the Subaru West Coast Triathlon Series, the Vancouver Half Iron distance triathlon has grown from 175 participants in its first year to over 800 in 2010. With a course that follows alongs Vancouver’s Spanish Banks and Jericho Beach, the race features views of the ocean, north shore mountains and Vancouver’s incredible city skyline of glass buildings, the race manages to combine the feel of a small, west coast ocean town on the doorstep of a two million person metropolis.
In addition to the half Ironman event, the sprint race has also become very popular and has attracted many to the celebrity challenge, including celebrity chef Chuck Feenie, triathlete and model Jenny Fletcher and the deputy mayor Peter Ladner. Last year also saw a “Battle of Olympians” with 17 summer and winter athletes from a variety of sports compete on relay teams. This year Sully and Force, otherwise known as the Greenmen, two popular Vancouver Canuck fans outfitted in green spandex costumes, recruited Canada’s best female swimmer, Olympian and current world record holder Annamay Pierse, in hopes of beating Olympic gold medal rower Ben Rutledge. The Green Team was soundly defeated by Rutledge, but turned many heads as they cycled and ran in their full green suits to the delight of the athletes and the thousands of spectators around the course.
The race has been televised for the last three years on Rogers Sportsnet and has attracted first time athletes as well as triathlon stars including Magali Tisseyre, Linsey Corbin, Heather Wurtele, Jordan Rapp, Bree Wee, Kim Loeffler, Jasper Blake and Andrei Yastrebov.
“Our vision is to keep growing the race but the looping course will dictate the numbers don’t get too big,” says LifeSport’s Paul Regensberg – a sure hint that you’ll want to register early.