Sport is about breaking through personal barriers

Kenn Oliver
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Just as the Tely 10 road race has seen growing registration numbers in recent years, so to has the Capital Subaru St. John's Triathlon, the province's longest continuous swimming-biking-running task now entering its 25th year.

In 2008, the number of competitors who tackled the traditional distance event was nearly double what took part in the previous year's running.

The Tri-Paradise sprint triathlon Sunday kicks off the triathlon season in this province. - Nick Langor photo

Just as the Tely 10 road race has seen growing registration numbers in recent years, so to has the Capital Subaru St. John's Triathlon, the province's longest continuous swimming-biking-running task now entering its 25th year.

In 2008, the number of competitors who tackled the traditional distance event was nearly double what took part in the previous year's running.

But in today's health and fitness conscious society, there's still something that sets a triathlon apart.

"It's your personal Everest," St. John's committee chair Michael Andersen Jones says when explaining how the Tri movement has taken off.

"It's about breaking through your own personal barriers and doing things you may not have done in the past and changing your personal paradigms about yourself and what you can do. It provides a place for us to grow our minds as well as our bodies."

That said, triathletes across the province this summer have an opportunity to break those barriers and set about personal change in one of four triathlons that make up the Capital Subaru Newfoundland and Labrador Triathlon Series, the first of which is the innaugural Tri-Paradise Sprint Triathlon Sunday.

In addition to the St. John's and Paradise events, Carbonear will host its 21st annual sprint Triathlon and Corner Brook welcomes back its Olympic distance Tri. But each have their own charm and each come with their own unique challenges for the competitor.

Corner Brook, for example, tests the competitors endurance through a hilly bike course but, "what you don't have left in your energy tanks to get you through the race, the people who come out and cheer you on get you through it."

Andersen Jones says putting all the races under one banner, "was about trying to create more visibility for all the races across the province" and help grow the province's, "Tri-tourism."

"Tri-tourism is huge when you look at it from a North American standpoint," he contends. "Lots of triathletes are kind of upper-middle class, in a broad array, and a lot from the Unites States are willing to travel to these races. So we're trying to get more people to come here because it promotes the province and the sport at the same time."

The St. John's Tri, for instance, was recently selected by Triathlon Canada Magazine as one of the top-20 marquee events of its kind in Canada.

An honour Andersen Jones suggests comes as a result of the event's long and successful history of having, "tested a lot of good triathletes over the years."

Any type of triathlon, be it a sprint event with its 20-kilometre bike portion to the Olympic event and its 1.5km swim, can be tackled by just about anyone, insists Andersen Jones.

But the sprint event, "is ideal if you are new to the sport."

Still, it's in the newbie's best interest to take advantage of the many supports and training mechanisms that exist - membership swimming/biking/running group and stores of training information on race websites like stjohnstri.com - to help better endure the challenges of race day.

For the St. John's Triathlon, one of the best tools for first timers, and even veteran triathletes, is the open water swim practice, held roughly three weeks prior to the race itself. The idea is to give competitors a chance to test the waters in a non-competitive environment.

"We'll have some experts talk about how to sight, look for buoys, breath properly, learning how to relax when you first go in, and where you want to be within the pack ... because you don't want to be at the front. Sometimes, rookies make that mistake."

And for those who are strong swimmers, but perhaps not so strong in the bike and run portions, most of the events come with a team component where two to three members work together to complete the course.

"Maybe some people are long-time runners and now have problems with their knees, so they do the swim and the bike and they get a friend who is a great runner and put together a super team."

With the exception of the new Paradise Triathlon, all of the races featue a Kids of Steel component for children from 5 to 14 years with distances based on age. The focus in these events, according to Andersen Jones, is not so much on winning but more about having fun while promoting a healthy and athletic lifestyle among young people.

"Race day is about your personal best and it's the same fo the kids," he says.

"It doesn't matter if kids come from a really athletic backgrounds or not, as long as they come out and have fun."

Thanks to the effort put forth in communities and by local sponsors like Capital Subaru, Andersen Jones expects Newfoundland triathlon's "to be huge in years to come."

"It's these grass roots races, not only across Newfoundland and Labrador but across the country, that is making this come about.

"Without the support of the community and our sponsor, these races do not go ahead and this series falls apart."

koliver@thetelegram.com




FACTS AND STATS

Tri Paradise Sprint Triathlon
Carbonear Sprint Triathlon
Corner Brook Triathlon (Olympic and Sprint distance)
St. John's Triathlon (Traditional and Sprint distance)

Organizations: Capital Subaru Newfoundland and Labrador Triathlon Series, North American, Triathlon Canada Magazine

Geographic location: St. John's, Corner Brook, Carbonear Unites States Canada Newfoundland and Labrador

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Comments

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Recent comments

  • triguy
    July 02, 2010 - 13:28

    Billy, many people spend $1500 a year on beer and smokes.

  • billy
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    This is a great sport however one of the major problems with it is: they are elitists...and I don't mean better than everyone at sport.

    They are the sporting Snobs of the community
    I actually used to believe that they didn't want new participants.

    1) If you don't have the $1500 bike special shoes, and the special wet suit you are considered subpar right off the bat.

    2) How can you attract new athletes when the cost of one race is the about half the registration for soccer, ball hockey, rugby or any other summer sport (minus ice hockey).

    You have a great sport...TIP: try lowering your cost then you might attract more than the handle full of Yuppies at your races.

    P.s. I know what the comeback will be...we need these funds to help coordinate, bla bla bla, etc. Don't make the participant pay for it or youre still going to have the handle full of numbers.

  • Need
    July 02, 2010 - 13:11

    It is not what you own, but how you use it to compete. Seems Tilly has been defeated by intimidation rather then ability. So sad that some people feel that to win or compete you must have the best of all worlds.

    I would venture to say that a person with the drive to succeed could and would beat those that feel they have the technological advantage any day of the week. Drive and perseverance wins every time. Just too bad some amongst us have become far to lazy to realize this simple fact.

    Some will come up with any excuse to not participate, and bash those that do. We pity you lazy slobs that never get out of bed till noon.

  • triguy
    July 01, 2010 - 20:16

    Billy, many people spend $1500 a year on beer and smokes.

  • billy
    July 01, 2010 - 19:55

    This is a great sport however one of the major problems with it is: they are elitists...and I don't mean better than everyone at sport.

    They are the sporting Snobs of the community
    I actually used to believe that they didn't want new participants.

    1) If you don't have the $1500 bike special shoes, and the special wet suit you are considered subpar right off the bat.

    2) How can you attract new athletes when the cost of one race is the about half the registration for soccer, ball hockey, rugby or any other summer sport (minus ice hockey).

    You have a great sport...TIP: try lowering your cost then you might attract more than the handle full of Yuppies at your races.

    P.s. I know what the comeback will be...we need these funds to help coordinate, bla bla bla, etc. Don't make the participant pay for it or youre still going to have the handle full of numbers.

  • Need
    July 01, 2010 - 19:48

    It is not what you own, but how you use it to compete. Seems Tilly has been defeated by intimidation rather then ability. So sad that some people feel that to win or compete you must have the best of all worlds.

    I would venture to say that a person with the drive to succeed could and would beat those that feel they have the technological advantage any day of the week. Drive and perseverance wins every time. Just too bad some amongst us have become far to lazy to realize this simple fact.

    Some will come up with any excuse to not participate, and bash those that do. We pity you lazy slobs that never get out of bed till noon.