The Journal Pioneer
MILL RIVER - One thing that seems very certain after the inaugural West Prince Sprint triathlon is that there will be a second annual event.
Saturday's race, which consisted of a 750-metre swim in the Mill River Aquaplex pool, followed immediately by a 20-kilometre bike race and a 5-kilometre run, attracted 19 participants. The run and bike race each started and finished at the Aquaplex.
Several admitted to being first-time participants in a triathlon, and many of them indicated the experience left them wanting more.
"Good to participate," remarked Gary Knox. "Excellent to finish."
The 54-year-old from Howlan has been in some foot races and has been doing a lot of biking in recent years, but he was concerned about the swim.
"I was not a very good swimmer," he related. "Still not, but I got through it."
Knox said he enjoyed training with a group of other race participants, and indicated he hopes to get better at swimming before the next triathlon.
Experience did win out in the end, though. Dave Clark and Cheryl Tanton, the top men's and women's finishers, are experienced triathletes.
Tanton predicted the sport is going to grow and grow.
Clark said practising biking and running in quick succession are important in preparing for a triathlon. Tanton noted athletes have to practise their transition times.
Although times for each of the legs of the race are recorded, the clock starts ticking the moment a racer kicks off in the pool and doesn't stop until the end of the foot race.
Because of space restrictions for the swim, Saturday's race was run in four heats.
Two of the men's participants, Dave Gallant and organizer Paul Dalton, used the sprint triathlon as preparation for the Ironman race they're registered for in British Columbia in July. Dalton will also be running an Ultraman in August.
Cindy Howard from Miningegash entered her first triathlon since she was a teenager. She said she was pleased with her results, especially her swim time.
Tanton said the swimming is what she finds most difficult, and felt it is an element that most athletes fear.
"I think I'd do this again," said avid runner Jen Perry. "I think I'd need a lot more practice on the bike and in the pool."
Perry said combining swimming and biking with running works different muscle groups.
"It's something different and I really enjoyed the different experience," she said.
The sprint triathlon was a new experience for race organizer Jacquie Lidstone, too. Like most, she was concerned about her swimming but found that to be the easiest leg.
Along with thinking ahead to next year's sprint triathlon, Lidstone is considering organizing a summer triathlon and incorporating an open-water swim into it.Both Dalton and Lidstone acknowledged the role volunteers played in the success of the inaugural event.