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Blake makes solid debut in Ironman

Whistler athletes qualify for world championships



The 25 th running of Ironman Canada in Penticton wrapped up at midnight on Sunday, Aug. 26 after 17 hours with, as usual, the biggest crowd of athletes and spectators on hand to cheer on the last few athletes to cross the finish line. It’s widely understood that the longer you spend on course, the greater your suffering.

This year nine Whistler athletes took part in the field of 2,200, including several athletes who were competing in their first Ironman races. The course includes a 3.8 km swim, a 180 km bike leg, and a 42.2 km marathon.

This year the overall win on the men’s side went to Kieran Doe of New Zealand in eight hours, 32 minutes and 45 seconds, with Jonathan Caron of Penticton placing second in 8:39:59 and Chris Brown of Calgary taking third in 8:49:34.

On the women’s side, Lisa Bentley of Ontario won her third Ironman Canada title in 9:41:01, followed by Sara Gross of Calgary in 9:43:34, and Heather Fuhr of California in 9:49:36.

Usually Whistler’s athletes participate in the age categories, but this year ski coach Ollie Blake — racing his first ever Ironman — decided to enter the Pro Men’s category. He said he had no idea what to expect, but guessed that his times would be on pace with slower athletes in the Pro category.

He actually placed much higher, finishing 16 th overall out of 31 racers with a total time of 9:23:15 — 57:40 in the water, 5:10:30 on the bike, and a blistering 3:09:25 on the run. He also spent less than six minutes in the transition areas, doing almost all his refueling on the road.

Second on the board from Whistler was Bob Deeks, also racing in his first ever Ironman. Deeks had a solid race, following up his modest swim time of 1:08:06 with a 5:24:09 bike leg and a 3:34:49 run to place 98 th overall with a total time of 10:12:05. He placed ninth out of 296 racers in the 45 to 49 age category.

“I basically exceeded my expectations,” he said. “My dream goal was 10 hours and 15 minutes and I came in at 10:12. It was a really great day, everything went really well for me.

“It’s such a long day, you just have to take it in its smaller components and check things off your list as you go. It’s easier when you don’t focus on the whole, but little parts. I would go ‘okay, that’s the first half of the swim, now I’m on the second half.’ I had the bike ride divided mentally into five sections, and I would do one section, then another.

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