Triathlon athletes compete in rainSTEPHEN BRUN
The Journal Pioneer
SUMMERSIDE -- The rain over the city let up for a while on Sunday morning, but around 120 triathlon competitors got soaked nonetheless.
The Summerside Big Dog Triathlon saw athletes tear around the downtown core in swimming, cycling and running portions of the race.
The event was a primer for the 2009 Canada Games, as much for the volunteers and organizers as it was for the athletes.
"I was glad it stopped raining, but the wind was really bad on the bike," said Winnipeg's Sarah-Anne Brault, 18, who won the junior elite female race. "I knew some of the girls I was competing against so I kind of knew what to expect, but you never know until you're racing."
With the Canada Games fast approaching, events like this serve as qualifiers for the athletes, and also ensure volunteers have the training needed for next year.
Athletes first dove off a pontoon at government wharf and swam a 750-metre lap around the harbour. They then transitioned to 20-kilometre cycle that touched Harbour Drive, Water Street and MacKenzie Drive, and finished with a 5-km run, also on Harbour Drive.
Brault finished her triathlon in a time of 1:02:52, followed by Saskatoon's Rachael Edwards in 1:03:12 and Christine Ridenou of Cowichan Bay, B.C., who posted a time of 1:03:48.
Despite a strong finish, Brault didn't think she'd be able to catch Ridenou, who got off to a quick start.
"I figured when the first swimmers had about 30 seconds on us I thought it'd be over. I knew I had to run fast," she said. "The swim was kind of rough, but I loved the start on the pontoon."
Jeff Phillips of Victoria, B.C. won the junior elite male gold, and said his strategy of pairing up with fellow British Colombian Matt Sharpe helped the pair come first and second on Sunday.
"We ended up getting a lot of open water right at the beginning of the swim, and by the time we got to the first buoy we were together right behind the first pack," he said. "Once we came out of the water we had to sprint to get into the first pack. From then on my coaches were telling me to keep the gas on and don't let up."
The age group event went earlier in the morning and was won easily by Isabelle Gagnon of Trois-Rivieres, Que., with a time of 1:07:15 over Charlottetown native Peter Hammill.