For 25 plus years, the Town of Stony Plain has hosted one of western Canada’s oldest triathlons, the Great White North Triathlon. Stony Plain, located west of Edmonton, has a charm like no other. Throughout the village, buildings have been painted with breathtaking murals that depict the region’s rich heritage – giving Stony Plain the label “The Town with the Painted Past.” On the first Sunday of July, Stony Plain surrenders the town to 1,000 or so triathletes for one of the most popular races in Western Canada.
In 1991, race director Wade Church organized the first Great White North Triathlon. Church put his heart and soul into the race for twenty years and built the event by nurturing relationships with the athletes, volunteers and the community. Since its origin, the Great White North triathlon has been a venue for multiple Alberta and National Long Course Championships.
Past champions of this great race include Jeff Symonds, Nathan Killam, Rachel McBride and Jen Annett.
The two-kilometre clockwise swim takes place in Hubbles Lake, located 15 km west of Stony Plain. The mass swim start and bike transition are situated at Allan Beach and Resort. Competitors then complete the 90km bike course, doing the out and back section on Highway 779 twice. The run is flat and fast as it takes athletes through the town’s beautiful trail system as well as within tree-lined residential streets.
The race day includes not only the half Ironman distance but also an Olympic triathlon and duathlon.
This year’s race
Nathan Killam, the defending champion is set to return and defend. Last year, Killam set the bike course record in a time of 2:05:06. This year he will be going up against the current course record holder, Jeff Symonds. Last year’s women champion, Rachel McBride will not be present, as she is racing at the Ironman European Championship in Frankfurt, Germany.