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Whistler Triathlon Club relaunching

New blood helps to invigorate organization

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Whistler Triathlon Club is swimming, cycling and running into a new era.

After wholesale changes to its leadership, the new generation has expansion plans for this season.

Communications head Nina Harmon said that with surging interest in Ironman and the revitalization of the Squamish Triathlon, it was time to do more with the club.

"People came together and we jumped on board with the AGM in November. A whole new team came on, and we're fresh and champing at the bit to put in a bunch of programming and build community," she said. "We've done a rebrand. We have a new logo and website on the surface level, and a little bit deeper, we have a couple different things in the works."

New board members include president Trevor Hopkins and vice-president Kristian Manietta, who will also coach. Harmon was appreciative of the work past members like Christine Suter, Brenda Baker, Sherri Fleck, Brandi Higgins and Maridee Fitch put into the club over roughly the last decade.

"They've done a lot of heavy lifting for us as far as getting the club's non-profit status and getting some initial programming off the ground," she said. "We look up to the original board as absolute legends, but they're busy with other things now, so they're passing the torch on to us."

Some swim training is already available and will ramp up as the temperatures start to rise, with lake swimming, spin classes and other outlets on tap. The club is also planning to host a monthly speaker series to help inspire and teach its members about the sport.

Some small races will also take place.

"We're going to do some events that are great for people to get their toes wet in triathlon, so we're looking at some toonie-style races," said Harmon, who added the board is also looking at bringing back Whistler's Big Day Out, an end-of-season, off-road triathlon. "We've got events going on and the roster's filling out right now."

Those interested in finding out more about the club can check out www.whistlertriclub.com or attend the club's upcoming pre-season event this Sunday, Feb. 25 at the FireRock Lounge. The event, which starts at 4 p.m., will give attendees a chance to check out the club's kits, membership packages and list of the season's events. Snacks will be provided.

"We are going to launch our event calendar, have sign-ups there for people," said Harmon. "We want to support people and not have them training all by themselves."

She explained the club will offer programming for athletes who are at various points along the way, from beginners to high-level competitors. However, a major push will be made towards those at the newer end, especially as they may need some extra encouragement early on.

"We're hoping to break down some barriers and give people access to coaching and training and camaraderie," added Harmon.

She hopes to get about 30 people out to the launch party as part of ongoing efforts to grow the organization.

"We know there's a huge community of people who run, bike or swim, so we want to bring them together and have them dabble in these other sports," she said. "We're hoping, ambitiously, to have a pretty hefty turnout this first year."

In other triathlon news, Ironman recently revealed the top-10 finishers for its athletes' choice awards.

Whistler's Subaru Ironman Canada finished tied for fifth in the overall satisfaction category, third for overall swim and tied for sixth for best race venue. The half-distance 70.3 tied for third in best host city experience.

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