Provinces best triathletes set to compete in St. Johns on Sunday
Steven Dyke set a new race record in the 2006 St. Johns Triathlon, finishing in two hours flat. This years race is Sunday. Telegram file photo
Ask Steven Dyke whats the only thing better than setting a record and hell tell you its breaking it again.
The St. Johns resident has been dominating triathlons in this province for the better part of the past 20 years, and in 2006, set a new course record at the St. Johns Triathlon, finishing the race in two hours flat. A lot of athletes would still be smiling over such an accomplishment, but all Dyke can think about is ways he can shave a few more seconds off that time.
I intend to (break it again), said Dyke, 45. But we actually changed the run course a bit ... its a little longer now. But (breaking the record) is possible.
Dyke will not only run the St. Johns Triathlon Sunday, hes also a member of the races organizing committee. While performing double duty forces him to dedicate much more time to the event than most other triathletes, its a sacrifice Dyke is willing to make. Hes watched the number of participants for the event go up and down in the past decade and fondly recalls the race a few years ago that attracted close to 250 entrants. However, he also remembers a period shortly before that when numbers dropped yearly.
We went through a bit of a slump, but I think that was because so many people moved away, he said. But now, a lot of the people running it are here on vacation.
Having Dykes name attached to the St. Johns Triathlon certainly gives the race credibility. Hes won triathlons across Canada, including more than 30 in Newfoundland and Labrador. Hes won between 10 and 15 St. Johns Triathlons and, in 2002, travelled to France to compete in the International Triathlon Union (ITU) world championships.
Facing some of the worlds best in the sport, Dyke won gold in his division (40-years-old). To date, it is the most cherished win of his career.
It meant a lot because it was really hard to win. It was through the mountains, we were running up really steep hills, whipping down these little trails on our bikes, it looked like the Tour de France, Dyke said. Some (international triathlons) arent legitimate. Theyre money-making events that are almost just fun runs. But in France, you really had to know what you were doing.
Given his success in the sport, it would be fair to assume Dyke has been taking part in triathlons since he was a child. However, he didnt get into the sport until he was already into his 20s and actually came upon it by accident.
I was always running, just on my own and not competitively, said Dyke. But one day I was watching TV and this race came on, at the time I didnt know what a triathlon was. I thought it looked neat, and then I heard about the triathlon here in St. Johns.
Dyke has been winning triathlons with regularity since, but despite his success, he insists hes not necessarily the favorite to win in St. Johns Sunday, especially since some registrations come late
You never know who is going to enter. Someone could show up from out of province and surprise everyone, Dyke said. Ive done that before, just shown up in Halifax and Montreal without anyone knowing Im coming and ended up winning.
In addition to athletes such as Dyke, the St. Johns aTriathlon will also include several newcomers to the sport. If last years event was any indication, at least 140 participants are expected in St. Johns Sunday.
Theres different distances and theres a team event. Theres something for everyone, Dyke said.
The 2007 St. Johns Triathlon begins 9 a.m. at Healeys Pond Beach, off Thorburn Road.