Wurtele and Bromme take Ironman Whistler 2013 

Winners describe their hard-fought victories

click to enlarge Age group athletes started Ironman Canada at 7 a.m. as the sun poked over the nearby peaks.
  • Age group athletes started Ironman Canada at 7 a.m. as the sun poked over the nearby peaks.

UPDATE:

This year’s winners of the Whistler Ironman both had a first place finish in their sights when they took to Alta Lake at 6:45 a.m. Sunday morning, Aug. 25.

Taking first place for the men was pro triathlete Trevor Wurtele of Kelowna, B.C. finishing in 8:39:33.

The top woman was Uli Bromme, taking her first Ironman win in 9:28:13.

“I started off with an average swim — I think I was maybe second to last out of the water, which was disappointing for me,” said Bromme at the finish line.

“I started feeling really good on the bike about a quarter of the way through and I was able to pass some girls and in the turnaround was in the lead.

“I wasn’t sure I would do that well on the run and I know Lisa (Ribes) is a fast runner so I said to myself you have to run hard today.

“And I haven’t checked the splits, but that might have been a personal best.”

The Boulder, Colorado pro triathlete made her debut Ironman performance in Hawaii in 2008, finishing in 11 hours plus. Since then she has steadily improved. On her blog she said her motivation to train, “is to win an Ironman.”

This is Wurtele’s first win this year, though he won Ironman 70.3 New Orleans in 2012. The triathlete was a competitive skier until aged 16.

He began taking part in Ironman events in 2009.

“(The run was) nothing special,” said Wurtele at the finish line.

“I just ran on the borderline of being really uncomfortable, and finally he (Matthew Russell) dropped off at about (mile) six or seven.

“Once that happened it gave me a little bit of a boost of energy.”

Whistler’s Ben Biswell finished in 10:56:24.

“I was a rubbish swimmer when I was younger, but I had shoulder surgery a few years ago so I started swimming to make it stronger,” said Biswell after the race.

“The bike was mainly because I had a little ankle injury and I couldn’t run that much.

“So I said I’d run a triathlon and that was last summer and I just stayed into it.”

Results are listed at www.ironman.com. Other Whistler races included Mike Edwards at 12:32:01, Christine Suter at 12:07:20 and Ashley Macmillan at 10:59:02.

EARLIER TODAY

Conditions couldn't be more perfect for the 31st anniversary of Ironman Canada, taking place for the first time at its new home at Whistler today, Sunday. Aug. 25.

The event sold out within a week of going on sale, and some 2,500 athletes and at least as many spectators crowded Rainbow Park as the sun peeked out over Wedge and Blackcomb mountains.

The temperature was a cool nine degrees Celsius at the 7 a.m. start, a little warmer than the forecast of six degrees. Temperatures are rising and it was 13 degrees by 9:30 a.m. with almost no wind for the cyclists and an expected high of 22 — an ideal day for racing. Even Pemberton is expected to remain in the low 20s today with light winds for most of the day.

Bryan Rhodes of New Zealand was first out of the water in 49 minutes and five seconds, followed closely by Dominik Berger of Austria and Andrew Russell of North Saanich. By the one-third point on the 112-mile/180km bike it was still a tight race with the top 10 men sitting with eight minutes of each other.

The top female racer out of the water was Christina Jackson of California in 55:11, followed by Christine Anderson of Colorado in 55:13 and Keiko Tanaka of Japan in 55:17. Tanaka took over the lead on the bike leg, although by the one-third point the top eight women were separated by just five minutes.

There's a $75,000 prize purse up for grabs this year and athletes haven't been holding anything back.

The riders will head out to Pemberton Meadows and back to Whistler for the second transition, before heading out onto the 42.2km run course.

On flat Ironman courses the top men regularly break the eight hour mark but this hilly course will likely take well over eight hours to complete. Spectators should expect the first runners at Whistler Olympic Plaza after 2:30 p.m. Crowds are huge, so get there early to be able to see. Take the Valley Trail or bus into town, as there is limited access to the highway and parking will be challenging.

The timer shuts off at midnight, 17 hours after the start of the age categories. Some of the most inspirational runners will cross the line with minutes to spare.

This year some of the highlights include Ottawa athlete Sindy Hooper, who may be the first Ironman competitor anywhere in the world to race while actively undergoing radiation and chemotherapy treatment for pancreatic cancer.

Check Pique's Facebook page for more updates from the race.

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