Mae Palm second in category
The World Ironman Championships in Kona, Hawaii typically take place under a tropical sun with gusting winds that can knock you off your bike. This year was the exact opposite, with an overcast sky in the morning, a brief downpour, and mixed periods of sun and clouds with extreme humidity in the cycling and running sections.
There was almost no wind on the bike this year, but there were large enough swells in the water to throw more than one competitor off course.
The jury is still out on whether the race was easier because of the lack of wind, or harder because of the swells and the humidity.
The husband and wife team of Peter Reid and Lori Bowden, both past Ironman champions, settled for second and third respectively.
The mens race went to Tim DeBoom of the U.S. who completed the 3.8 km swim, 180 km bike race, and 42.2 km marathon in eight hours 29 minutes and 56 seconds.
Reid finished just over three minutes later in 8:33:04, followed by Cameron Brown of New Zealand in 8:36:00.
In the womens event, Natashca Badmann won her second straight Ironman title with a time of 9:07:00. Nina Kraft of Germany was second in 9:14:20, and Bowden was third in 9:22:28 after being assessed a five-minute penalty for allowing an age group racer to pull ahead of her in a transition.
Two local athletes qualified for the world championships this year with strong results in Ironman Canada. One of those racers, Daniel Havens, decided to attend an Ironman in Australia that he had already booked.
The other racer was 62-year-old Mae Palm, who is both the reigning world champion and Canadian champion in her age category. She finished second in the womens 60 to 64 category in 14:43:55.
"A nice thing happened to me, I got a cold five days before the triathlon," said Palm. It was a sinus cold, so it was still okay to swim, but it made it difficult to breathe at times. She rode the whole bike section with a handkerchief, and wished she had the handkerchief with her for the marathon. "I was faster in the water by about two minutes, and quite a bit faster on my bike, but my run was just horrible. Its not fun when you have to blow your nose every 30 seconds just to breathe, especially when you have nothing to blow your nose with," she said.
Jacky Tasker of New Zealand, 60, took the title this year in 13:40:07. She hoped to break the world record of 13:19 for the age category, according to Palm, but suffered a few stomach problems of her own.
"Everybody has their little things, but it happens and thats part of racing," said Palm.
"Still it was a good day. I cut three minutes off my time for last year, despite all my problems, so thats a personal best. Im so happy that I finished, that I didnt quit, I just wish I had a better time."
Palm does not know if she will be back again next year due to financial and time constraints after she lost her job with Tourism Whistler when they contracted out their reservations departmen
She will continue to compete locally and regionally, and will focus more on running, her first love, in the near future. She is still hopeful that she will be able to find a sponsor for next season, in which case she will continue to participate in Ironman triathlons.