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Nine Whistler athletes head to Ironman Canada

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Ironman Canada is one of the toughest races in the country.

First, the distances are huge — the 3.8 km swim is basically the equivalent of swimming to the village from Creekside, the 180 km bike is like going to Pemberton and back three times, and the 42.2 km marathon at the end is like running from the Callaghan Valley to Brackendale.

Secondly, the race takes place out of Penticton at the end of August, and temperatures can often top 30 degrees by the late morning. There are two big climbs on the bike leg of over 1,000 feet, and athletes can usually expect to ride into the wind for half the race.

Despite the obvious challenge the race sells out each year, and more than 2,500 swimmers will be at the start line on Sunday, Aug. 24. This year nine of those competitors will be from Whistler.

Competing in the pro category is ski racing coach Ollie Blake, who will be racing against his brother Jordan Blake — the 2006 Ironman Canada champion. Ollie Blake is still new to triathlons, and competed in Ironman for the first time last year, where he placed 16 th overall with a total time of nine hours, 23 minutes and 15 seconds.

Scott Brammer will be racing his eighth Ironman, but has always run for personal reasons. For one thing, he says it’s a great way to stay in shape.

“I just do it to challenge myself and to get into shape basically,” he said. “Since I signed up last year I’ve lost about 30 pounds. Obviously it’s a big commitment, but I feel pretty good.

“I went in this year trying to do a little better, and hired Christine Suter as my coach for the race. As always work gets in the way and made it hard to train as much as I wanted, but my goal is to finish in 13 hours — although if I finish before sunset, 13 to 14 hours, I’ll be happy.”

Brammer says he has been training about seven to 10 hours a week, which is about half has much as he hoped to train. He mostly trains on his own, but has worked with the Whistler Triathlon Club, and signed up for the Masters Swim program coached by Brandi and Dave Higgins. “That’s definitely helped with my swimming, I think that part of my race is the best it’s ever been.”

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