By Colonel John Giguere, MILPERSCOM –
For the third year running, the Canadian Armed Forces Long Course Triathlon team participated in the Ironman 70.3 SUPERFROG triathlon in Imperial Beach, California. And for the third year in a row the team crushed the course and obtained outsized results. This year’s team was composed of eight triathletes, seven men and one woman, from Ottawa, Bagotville, ValCartier, Montreal and Winnipeg. The NCR was represented by Corporal Hélène Fortier (VCDS), Major Joel Maley (ADM (Mat)) and Colonel John Giguère (MILPERSCOM).
The race, originally conceived as a means of preparing Navy SEALs for the Ironman Triathlon in Hawaii, consists of a 1.9 km swim, a 90 km bike course, and a 21.1 km run. This race presents two major differences from most other triathlons: an ocean swim and a run on the beach. Both these elements raised the level of difficulty for the race and were of particular concern to the team members new to this specific race. The team flew in to San Diego from their respective bases on Thursday, 13 September, 2018 and after settling in, re-assembled their bikes. Friday and Saturday were spent on race preparation, including registration and race kit pick-up, practicing swimming through the significant waves breaking on the beach at the race site and running in soft sand. Carb loading and rest were on the agenda for Saturday evening.
Race day weather was predicted to be sunny and hot, with a forecast high of 27◦C and light winds. The race started shortly after dawn, at 0650 hrs, with the swim leg in the relatively cold North Pacific Ocean. The waves were imposing with six to eight foot swells. The swim was followed by four loops of the bike course. Finally, team members finished the race with four loops of the run course, alternating between running on pavement (40%) and the beach (60%).
The team had competitors in five of the eight Military Divisions for the race. Competitors in the Military Divisions are active-duty military personnel from around the world and are grouped by gender and age. Overall the team achieved outstanding results with six podium finishes in all five of the Military Divisions in which it competed. In addition to the results in the Military Division, the team also had four podium finishes in the age group categories which include the civilian participants. Finally, four members of the team qualified to participate in the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii in October 2019: Avr Vincent Blais, Maj Joel Maley, Cpl Hélène Fortier, and Col John Giguère. Truly a remarkable accomplishment for the team and the CAF.
Photo: Chantal Borg
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