Locals show their mettle in Ironman 

B.C.ers win men?s and women?s titles

Local triathletes distinguished themselves among the record turnout of 2,000 athletes who took part in the 2001 Subaru Ironman Canada Triathlon Aug. 26 in Penticton. All 11 participants from Squamish, Whistler and Pemberton finished the race, and many placed highly in their age groups.

Canada on the whole did well in this international event, taking nine out of the top 20 spots against competitors from Europe, Asia, the U.S. and Australia. B.C. residents also won both the men?s and women?s pro races.

Peter Reid of Victoria crossed the finish line in 8:27:47, five and a half minutes ahead of Olivier Bernhard of Switzerland, and almost 11 minutes ahead of Matthia Klumpp of Germany. In winning, Reid became the first triathlete to repeat in Penticton. He is also on pace to repeat at the Ironman championships in Kona, Hawaii in September.

"I?m ready to go back to Hawaii and defend my title," said Reid. "This gives me the confidence I was looking for."

Gillian Bakker of Winfield, B.C. was the top woman in the competition finishing 56 th overall with a time of 10:04:27, almost six minutes ahead of Kujala Wenke of Germany. This was Bakker?s first ever Ironman victory.

Esther Wolsey of Edmonton was third by 13 minutes, racing in the women?s 35 to 39 division. Six different women held the lead during the course of the day, but in the end Bakker?s strong running put her in the lead.

Ironman Canada is the biggest Ironman in the world, attracting more competitors than any other event on the circuit. The swim component is 3.86 kilometres, the bicycle component 180 km, and the run 42.2 km, or a full marathon.

The temperature for the event hovered in the lower 30s, and although there were regular water and food stations, hundreds of racers were treated for dehydration. Approximately one-third of all racers received some form of medical treatment after the race, which is standard. Someone also scattered some tacks on the cycling portion of the road, and several cyclists punctured tires ? sometimes two tires. Nobody was hurt, although the police are looking into the matter and race organizers say they will conduct a sweep of the course next year prior to the race.

Our local triathletes, in no particular order, are:

Dawn Weberg-Titus, a teacher at Pemberton Secondary, finished the race in 11 hours 40 minutes and 27 seconds to end up 503 rd overall and fourth out of 71 competitors in the women?s 40 to 44 division. She was fourth in the swim, fourth in the cycling, and 19 th in the run.

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