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Ironman Canada close to selling out for Whistler

Local trainers offering programs for athletes

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As well, she agrees with Suter's assessment that the number of local participants is going to grow once people have seen the event and decide to sign up. "I think it's going to inspire a lot of people in the area that they can do an Ironman," she said. "It won't be a foreign thing. And we have the coaches and the training opportunities around here to get people comfortable with racing, and I'm sure we'll see tons of locals do it as the years go by."

Like Suter, her athletes are focusing on weaknesses and building strength. She expects her numbers to grow in January as more athletes get into more serious training.

Most people are nervous about the race, but Segger points out that you have 18 hours to finish the race — and lots of people come through the finish line in the closing minutes of the event.

"We have elite athletes here that are going for it, and also people that are in their first Ironman and are just looking to have a great day out there. The time to finish is so long that all levels of athletes are very capable of doing it with some training. You don't have to be the fastest, it's rewarding just to go out and give it a try and get it done — people always underestimate what they are capable of."

Plus, she says, local athletes generally have a few aces up their sleeves, whether its knowledge of the course, familiarity with riding hills or just friends and family.

"We actually have the advantage because locals will have friends and family around here that will be on course to support you, and we know so many people that will be cheering the athletes — that energy alone can get you to the finish line."

Segger herself has never raced the Ironman distance — she did a half iron two summers ago, then followed it up by winning the women's title and placing third overall at Ultraman Canada, a race that's over twice as long as Ironman with a 10km swim, 421km bike and 84.3km run. Segger's website is Challengebychoice.ca.

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