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Whistler athletes on Squamish Tri podium

Nine trips to the stage for local triathletes

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Registration for the 2010 running of the Squamish Triathlon was down considerably from previous years, something the organizers have attributed to the cold spring and the sheer number of events out there, including half irons, sprint races and off-road triathlons. The Triathlon B.C. calendar lists 28 races between the months of June and July.

But while the numbers may have been down, the competition last weekend was as strong as ever. Members of the Whistler Triathlon Club had a particularly strong day, with almost every racer finishing on a podium.

The overall winner this year was Ian Young of Vancouver, who completed the 1,500 metre swim, 37 km bike and 10 km trail run in a total time of 1:54:11. He also won the Male 30 to 34 category.

While Young had a nearly three and a half minute lead after the bike stage, Squamish's Jan Francke - who won the Whistler Valley Trail Run at the end of May - nearly caught Young on the run. Francke finished second overall in 1:55:35, winning the male 25 to 29 race.

Vancouver's Ryan Smiley, also in 25 to 29, was a distant third in 2:02:38.

Victoria's Sarah Baker was the top female racer, eighth overall, completing the course in 2:09:46. She also won the women's 25 to 29 race.

Kristina Bangma of Vancouver was the second female - and 28 th overall - finishing in 2:22:42. She won the women's 35 to 39 age category.

Whistler's own Claire Daniels placed 31 st overall and was the third female racer to the line in 2:23:04 while winning the women's 20 to 24 age group.

The previous week Daniels completed her first Half Iron in Vancouver, racing in the Vancouver International Half Iron where she placed second in her age group.

Daniels competed in her first triathlon in Whistler when she was just eight years old, and joined the Whistler Tri Club in high school. She has been busy in recent years with school - last year completing degrees in geography and environmental studies at the University of Victoria - but always tried to fit in at least one triathlon a year.

"I had some extra time this spring that I haven't had in a while so I got into training a bit more to do the half iron, which was something I've been working up to," she said. "Now I have more time I can focus on doing more triathlons."

She's planning to do at least one more Olympic distance race this year, but says it will likely be a few years before she attempts an Ironman.

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