Local triathletes earn impressive finishes 

Geddes off to world championships, Ward posts top local time during Ironman Canada

click to enlarge SUBMITTED PHOTO - headed to hawaii Whistler's Bill Geddes, left, accepts congratulations from Olympic triathlon champ Simon Whitfield after winning his age group during Ironman Canada. Geddes will now compete at the Ironman World Championships in October.
  • submitted photo
  • headed to hawaii Whistler's Bill Geddes, left, accepts congratulations from Olympic triathlon champ Simon Whitfield after winning his age group during Ironman Canada. Geddes will now compete at the Ironman World Championships in October.

Sunday's Subaru Ironman Canada is something that many folks spent the better part of the past year planning, training and preparing for.

Mike Edwards? He signed up on Friday. But you wouldn't know it looking at his time.

Edwards crossed the finish line on Blackcomb Way with an impressive mark of 10 hours, 26 minutes, 41 seconds — one of the fastest times recorded by more than two-dozen local finishers.

Edwards said he wasn't going into the event with much triathlon-specific training. It was simply his regular recreational pursuits that had him fit enough for race day.

"I call it 'Whistler active,'" Edwards said at the finish line. "Trail running with the dog, biking with all the buddies around here. Being Whistler active can get you ready for Ironman.

"Anybody in Whistler who does Toonie Races should do the Ironman."

With less than 48 hours between registering and racing, Edwards said he didn't have a ton of time to set any major goals, but he did accomplish what he was hoping for during the run.

"I wanted to feel good all day and run the whole marathon, and I did. I didn't walk at all," he said.

"The spectators were awesome, all the volunteers were great. It was just a perfect day."

The honour of quickest local belonged to Adam Ward, who finished his 3.8-km swim, 180-km bike and 42.2-km run at 10:20:49.

"I felt great the whole day. It was amazing — with all the support and everybody cheering, the day just flew by," said Ward. "I was going for around 10:30 to 11 hours. I knew I was going to have a strong bike and a good swim, but the run was going to be the hard one."

Despite having just two 21-km runs under his belt this summer, Ward finished the run in 3:49:52, helping him to 50th place overall.

Ward's time also put him third among the men's 25-29 age group, and was enough to earn a berth at the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii in October. However, he's been dealing with a hip injury and chose not to accept his spot, and will look to qualify in 2015 instead.

"If I go to Kona, I'd like to be able to compete a little bit," he said. "It's going to take a little while to recover after this race."

However, Whistler will still have some representation at the world championships through Bill Geddes, who won his 55-59 age group at 10:48:22.

"Somebody on the run told me I was first, and I was really hurting, so they just told me to maintain, and I got lucky and finished ahead of the other guys by a few minutes," Geddes said moments after accepting his entry to Kona during Monday's world championship rolldown ceremony. "Qualifying for Hawaii was my goal, so I achieved my goal."

Geddes last finished an Ironman 12 years ago in Penticton. He credited coach Christine Suter for helping him to a spot in Hawaii in the fall, but said the world championship race will be his last.

"I don't do a lot of these things. I'll look forward to being back on my mountain bike eventually," he laughed. "I'll do one last one and I'm going to try and enjoy it as opposed to racing as much. It's so demanding on your body."

Daryl West was another Whistler triathlete who beat the 11-hour mark, and he said he felt "surprisingly good" the day after finishing his first Ironman.

"I feel like I should feel a lot worse," he laughed. "It was absolutely amazing. Mind-blowing, actually.

"I mean, it was tough — the swim and the bike were OK, but the run was just brutal at the end. But being a local and having so many people there pulled me through. The atmosphere was just electric."

Whistler's Ashley McMillan had an incredible first two legs on Sunday, coming off the bike among the top 25 competitors overall. But he encountered some difficulty on the first loop of the run and was unable to finish.

Pemberton's Nancy Johnston was among a handful of local competitors who came back after finishing Whistler's first Ironman Canada in 2013, although she had a tougher time completing the course this time around.

"It certainly was a lot harder of a day for me," said Johnston. "The month earlier, it was a bit warmer... and they had changed the run course, and I found that a lot harder, too.

"At different points of the day, I really had to readjust what the goals of the day were and focus on having fun and enjoying it."

And although her finish time wasn't quite what she originally had in mind, Johnston said the overall experience of racing in her home community was still special.

"The people all over in the crowds were just wonderful and very encouraging," she said.

"There were signs everywhere, people cheering. Maybe there was even more animation out there this year — people put some really good effort into their signs and their outfits. There were places with music going, and that really helps."

Whistler hasn't been home for Spain's Sergio Tortajada for very long — he only arrived in the resort at the end of 2012 — but the Whistler Blackcomb ski and bike instructor said he felt like a longtime resident after seeing how many people were out to give him a boost on Sunday.

"It was awesome because I (saw) more than 10 signs with my name on it from my kids from DFX, ski and bike-park instructors and lots of other local people that I've met here," Tortajada said in an email.

"When you are so far from home, it's very awesome. I don't have the words to explain it."

Visit www.ironman.ca for full results and registration links for 2015.

LOCAL RESULTS

Adam Ward 10:20:49

Mike Edwards 10:26:41

William Geddes 10:48:22

Daryl West 10:51:11

Gary Martin 11:18:56

Simon Blake 11:37:49

Brendan Rivison 11:44:14

Marla Zucht 11:45:48

Sergio Tortajada Villanueva 11:48:53

Trevor Hopkins 12:15:31

Paul Vacirca 12:19:35

Christopher Den Tandt 12:42:37

John Blok 13:13:44

Claire Lewis 13:16:48

Rich Benson 13:23:01

Lynda Cowan 13:29:28

Sunghan Kim 13:42:30

Nancy Johnston 13:44:07

Shane Reside 14:09:11

Kristi Rivison 14:23:32

Anastasia Tukavkin 14:30:33

Patrick Mulhall 14:32:13

Richie Crehan 14:49:35

Danny Ng 14:50:44

Stu Wild 15:10:40

Sarah Prunier 15:58:30

Mark Lyttle 16:37:12

John Crehan DNF

Ashley McMillan DNF

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