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Higgins leads Whistler contingent in Kelowna

Local triathletes qualify for world championships



Four Whistler triathletes finished in the top-nine of their categories in the Kelowna Apple Triathlon on Sunday, Aug. 21, qualifying for the age group World Championships in Honolulu this September.

There was a huge field of participants this year, including 715 solos and relay teams, and 65 elite competitors. The top elite racers, including 2000 Olympic champion Simon Whitfield, qualified for the World Championships in Japan.

The top Whistler triathlete was David Higgins, who finished 22 nd overall and seventh in the men’s 35 to 39 age group in 2:08:30. He was second out of the water, and was briefly in first place on the 40 km bike until the top athletes chased him down.

Marie-Anne Prevost was 126 th overall, 11 th among women and third in the 30 to 34 age category in 2:19:22.

Dawn Weberg-Titus finished second in the women’s 45 to 49 group in 2:25:01 to secure her spot in Hawaii, and was 196 th overall.

"I always say there must be something in the water here," she said. "It was just an exceptional day for a lot of Whistler athletes out there, and so many qualified."

Weberg-Titus has not been competing that much this season because of some "foot troubles" but was training specifically to peak for the Kelowna race.

"I’m amazed after 20 years of triathlon racing, I posted a personal record in the 1,500 swim – that’s the fastest I’ve ever gone that distance," she said.

"It shows that you can still get better as you get older, as well as the amount of support that exists in our local triathlon community. We’re in the pool together, in the lake together, riding and running together, and you always have someone strong to pace yourself."

Christine Suter was sixth in the women’s 35 to 39 race, and finished just 12 seconds and two spots back of Titus.

Only Prevost and Higgins signed up for the championships in Hawaii. Weberg-Titus has been to the world championships twice before, and decided to sit out this year.

Other local athletes in the race were Jannie Grobler in 2:33:36, Liane Dunsmuir in 2:54:31, Christine Cogger in 2:55:33, Ian Reith in 2:56:26, Liz Cullen in 3:02:38, and Grace Blok in 3:22:48.

On the bike section Bob Deeks picked up a drywall nail that went through his tire and rim. He tried to repair the wheel, but packed it in after a technical problem with his air cartridge.

In the KOS Appleseed Triathlon the day before, a short-course race for junior athletes, Whistler’s Victoria Whitney was 12 th in the girls’ 14-15 age category with a time of 1:01:29.

Kai Riess was 19 th in the men’s 12-13 group in 57:08.