The Grande Prairie SuperSprint Triathlon and Kids of Steel were held on the May long weekend, and the events went extremely well this year. Blaine Richter outran a hard charging Todd Wilson to take the overall male title, while Susan Barnes from Calgary led from the starting gun to win the female overall. As usual, the temperatures were a bit nippy (you could see some kids literally steaming in transition after exiting from the pool!) but nothing too atypical for May in GP. More individuals took up the challenge in the adult event, and that was our goal this year with the shorter distances. Almost double the number of kids from 2001 showed up too, so in total we hosted almost 200 participants over the two events. Thanks to everyone who helped out or participated!
Local triathletes have been pretty busy training and competing in a number of events. In June there was the Hinton and Fort St John Triathlons, along with Provincials in Calgary. July brings the annual Great White North Half Ironman in Stony Plain and the National Amateur Short Course Championships in Edmonton. There are about a dozen athletes going down to compete in the championships, so look for a future race report!
The Grande Prairie Kids of Steel and Grande Prairie Triathlon took place on May 19th and 20th this year and by all accounts were a great success. For the second year in a row, however, the kids had to race in pretty harsh conditions. A screaming wind and low temperature combined to make things pretty miserable on the bike and run course. Only one athlete failed to complete the event though, and the kids exhibited a lot of spirit and determination. Overall entrants in KOS were up a fair bit from last year to boot!
The adults had somewhat better conditions for their race on Sunday but it was still a bit chilly. We equaled the turnout from last year’s triathlon and had 101 people participating, and quite a few had favourable comments about the race. The overall male and female runner-ups from the 2000 edition of the race (Colin McArthur and Tara Stillwell) improved on their positions and took the wins this year. We also had the first ever physically challenged participant (Dale Williams) in our race, and he did exceptionally well. Way to go Dale!
On a different note, I participated in the Escape From Alcatraz Triathlon on June 10th. It was, simply put, an incredible experience. All three legs of the course were very difficult and unique, and the whole works takes place amidst some spectacular scenery. From jumping off a boat to start the swim, to biking through the hilly San Francisco streets, to running under the Golden Gate Bridge, it was something I’ll never forget. And hey, what other race has Robin Williams cheering you on during the bike and a naked guy watching you run on the beach! Tune in to NBC on June 24th at noon and you’ll get to see coverage of the race (sans naked guy, I assume!)