-By Jennifer Faraone
Close to 350 participants, from first timers to veterans, attended the annual Personal Best Triathlon Skills and Seminar at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario on December 5. The day was packed with a variety of lectures and practical workshops, covering topics such as bike skills and workouts, swim technique, running form, core and injury prevention, nutrition and mental training. The event conveniently coincided with three key award banquets: the Trisport Subaru Race Series, MultiSport Canada Race Series and Triathlon Ontario.
What made the day unique, however, was the sheer volume and diversity of world-class coaches, athletes and lecturers together under one roof. “Part of the fun of the day is the sharing of the experiences and the different perspectives,” explains Barrie Shepley, President of Personal Best and key driver of the event. “Listening to world champion and psychologist Dr. Leith Drury, Olympic cyclist coach Mirek Mazur and veteran John Wragg, who has just completed his 200th Ironman, gives us a better appreciation of the complexity of the sport and how all elements must come together for success.” Athletes also benefited from the rare opportunity to receive immediate feedback on their swim technique with Olympic coach Andrew Cole, ride alongside pro triathlete and coach Sean Betchel and improve their running form with 4x Ironman 70.3 champ Lionel Sanders and Taylor Reid, recent winner of 70.3 Ironman Vegas.
The highlight of the day was the interactive Q&A panel discussion, where additional top-ranked athletes, including Andrew York, Cody Beals, John Rasmussen, Kristen Marchant and guest speaker Olympian/ Canadian 800m record runner Melissa Bishop took part. Collectively, they provided an inside glimpse of the world of an elite athlete and what it takes to attain their success. The ability to get up close and personal with some of Canada’s top triathletes is no doubt a key feature of the seminar, and hopefully next year’s event will see an even greater number of accomplished female triathletes joining their male counterparts.