Made of iron 

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"After a while it just becomes part of your lifestyle, and for that it helps being married to somebody who is doing the same things. The whole fitness component of it is great."

Paul Suter is taking the race very seriously this year, and hopes to qualify for the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii.

"Other years I was in it just to complete it and have fun, but this year I’m going in it to race," he said. He estimates that he will need a time of around 10:15 to qualify, and has been training towards that goal.

For Paul, the appeal of the triathlon is the fact that you aren’t training for one sport, but for three very different sports.

"It keeps it interesting, and you don’t get the monotony you might get training for one thing. And you have to maintain the same high level of fitness is all three sports, which I also kind of like," he said.

His strongest event is cycling, which he did before he got into Ironman.

"I didn’t really do any swimming or running at all," he said.

Paul used a coach this year, who developed a program for him to increase his speed and fitness. He says it is paying off.

An average week of training for Paul since January has been about 17 hours over five days, going up to 25 hours recently before tapering off.

Knowing what it takes to prepare for an Ironman, Paul says he has a lot of respect for anyone who signs up for the race.

"To do this, to go in and just compete in the race, even just to finish, you have to take it fairly serious," he said. "Even the people who don’t have race goals have still been slogging it out for long hours over the last 10 months… it all comes down to this one race."

Training in Whistler has been great, says Paul, because of the people and the facilities in town.

"Per capita, I’d say there’s more people in Whistler competing in Ironman and triathlons than in any other town. It helps because we all motivate each other to get out and do things. There’s just so much support."

John and Grace Blok

This is John Blok’s third Ironman in the last four years, with times of 12 hours 11 minutes and 11:53. He’s not a fan of the swim until the midway point when the pack thins out a little and you don’t get people kicking and splashing all around you. The bike is his strongest leg – two summers ago he passed more than 550 people on the road.

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