Whistler runner tops Ironman division 

Local triathlete earns slot in 2020 Ironman 70.3 World Championships

click to enlarge PHOTO SUBMITTED - WILD BILL Whistlers Bill Geddes punched his ticket to the Ironman 70.3 World Championships after winning his division during Subaru Ironman Canada 70.3 on July 28.
  • Photo submitted
  • WILD BILL Whistler<0x2019>s Bill Geddes punched his ticket to the Ironman 70.3 World Championships after winning his division during Subaru Ironman Canada 70.3 on July 28.

Bill Geddes acknowledges that he doesn't race a lot, preferring to pick and choose his races.

So far in 2019, two of his selections have qualified him for other events.

After placing second in the men's 60-to-64 age group at the Apple Triathlon in Kelowna last month, which doubled as the national championships, Geddes punched his ticket to the 2020 International Triathlon Union World Championships in Edmonton. Three weeks later, Geddes topped his division at the half-distance Ironman Canada 70.3 here in Whistler, qualifying for the 70.3 World Championships in New Zealand in November 2020. The latter was particularly gratifying for Geddes, as he was planning to travel to New Zealand anyway.

"It's an opportunity to go race down there and then go travel and enjoy myself," he said.

These accomplishments are never easy, of course, but it was a tough slog for Geddes as he's dealt with a nagging abdominal injury, possibly a hernia, for the last two-and-a-half months.

After completing a strong swim and bike during Ironman, the pain was nearly too much during the run and Geddes considered folding up his tent during the "sheer hell" of the run.

"One of my boys said, 'Wow, dad, you're in first and you've got 20 minutes on the next guy,'" he recalled. "I walked and ran and finished, so to speak. I got lucky enough to come in at the top of my group, so it's all good."

All in all, the day was pleasant for Geddes, apart from some chilliness early on during the bike course. However, completing the half-distance Ironman in a strong time allows competitors to miss the heat of the day as he crossed the line shortly after noon in five hours, 24 minutes and three seconds (5:24:03).

"It was a picture-perfect day. It couldn't get any better," he said. "And the temperature was right, too. It wasn't super hot. It was hot, but it wasn't 30-plus."

Geddes said he often did marathons in the 1980s, but gradually started to lean toward running events such as ultramarathons. He had a successful return, completing the full-distance Ironman and qualifying for World Championships in Hawaii in 2014, 12 years after his last Ironman.

Upon turning 60, Geddes wanted to try for World Championships again but at a shorter distance, as he doubted his body's ability to withstand the barrage of a full-distance race.

It was especially meaningful considering Ironman's move back to Penticton after this year's Whistler race. Geddes wanted to take advantage of its presence in his own backyard one last time.

"It's a bit of a home-field advantage because I know the bike course pretty well," he said. "In terms of the 70.3s, I don't think there's a tougher bike ride out there. It's a really tough bike ride. It's 1,200 metres of climbing in 90 kms.

"It's a lot of climbing and then you've got to run afterwards."

For now, Geddes is in rehab mode preparing for his two upcoming opportunities on the global stage.

"I'm going to be going through trying to get better, and there is a chance I'm going to need an operation," he said. "I'm going to be in a position where hopefully by the end of October I'll be able to get out and do a little bit of cross-country skiing."

Lastly, Geddes was appreciative of coaches Christine Suter and Andy Robinson for getting him up to snuff for his recent contests.

"They were a help in terms of getting my body ready because it's been kind of broken," he said.


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