A record number of athletes turned out over the weekend for the Innisfail triathlon. Brenda Tams, one of the organizers for the event said there were nine try-it triathlon teams, 11 sprint teams and 125 individual racers, totalling 239 athletes and 70 volunteers.
“In the past we’d have 60 people, max,” she said. This was the first year the triathlon was sanctioned by the Alberta Triathlon Association.
“Because of that people could register online whereas before, people would hear about it through word of mouth.”
The Henderson family discovered the event online, and liked that the swim was in a pool, so decided to come and try out the event.
“Well, I turned 50,” said Barb from Salmon Arm, of why she wanted to complete a triathlon. Her husband Deane decided to try it too, and soon their daughters, Becky from Calgary and Laura from Kelowna, decided to give it a try as well.
“My friend said when she turned 50 she decided to try and do a triathlon and I thought it was a great idea,” said Barb. None of the family members had completed a triathlon before and they all completed it in under two hours.
“I was really happy to make it under two hours,” said Becky.
“The support here was amazing,” said Laura. “People were cheering us on and giving us high-fives; we definitely want to come back.”
The family hopes to convince more clan members to try the event with them next year. For sisters Karen Neupane of Red Deer and Patricia Ridgway from Calgary, Innisfail was the perfect location to meet up and compete, they explained.
“Pat asked me to do a half marathon in the summer so when I heard about the triathlon I told her I wanted to try it out,” said Karen of how they ended up at the race. “I think it’s a lot better than just running. It changes things up,” she said of how her first race went.
The sprint involved a 750-metre swim at the pool, a 20-kilometre bike ride and finished with a 5-kilometre jog. The try-it involved a 30-metre swim, 5-kilometre bike and 2-kilometre run.
“There were moments where I didn’t think I could do any more. And I just had to tell myself to keep going,” said Patricia.
Next year’s triathlon will be held September 8.