Whistler Triathletes qualify for Hawaii Ironman 

Havens, Palm to race in world championships

Since the first 15 men swam, cycled and ran around the Hawaiian island of Oahu back in 1978 to settle a bet over who was the best athlete, the Ironman has been celebrated as one of the most physically and mentally challenging competitions in the world. Just finishing is considered to be a remarkable achievement.

From the Whistler area, 10 athletes jumped into the water at Okanagan Lake Beach in Penticton at the start of the 2002 Ironman Canada, along with a field more than 2,000 athletes from all over the world. All 10 were up to the challenge and two – Daniel Havens and Mae Palm – qualified for the World Ironman Championships in Kona, Hawaii, this October.

Ironman events include a 3.84 kilometre swim, a 180 km cycling leg, and a 42.2 km (marathon length) running leg.

The top time at the Penticton Ironman went to Garrett Macfadyen of Halifax, Nova Scotia, with a finish time of eight hours, 30 minutes and 57 seconds. Although he was 23 rd out of the water, he made up the time by winning both the cycling and running stages.

Lori Bowden of Sidney, B.C., the world Ironman champion in 1999, was the top female racer. She finished 13 th overall in 9:15:52.

Closer to home, the top Whistler athlete in the race was Paul Nicholas, who was 219 th overall and 53 rd out of 340 entries in the men’s 30 to 34 age group, in a time of 10:33:21.

Close behind, racing in his first ever Ironman was Daniel Havens in 10:37:29. He was 244 th overall and 14 th out of 189 in the 45 to 49 age category to qualify for the World Ironman Championships.

"It was a good day – a little wind, a little rain, but nothing that would really slow you down," said Havens the morning after the competition.

"I feel great. The shins are a little tight so it’s going to be all ramps and elevators for the next couple of days, but I was right in line the next day to sign up for next year."

The only part of the race that gave Havens any trouble was the swim, where he felt fenced in by the mass of more than 2,000 people in the water.

"You get squeezed in as you head towards the buoys, and there are just thrashing hands and feet everywhere," said Havens. "I would have to start swimming the breast stroke until I could get clear of the group."

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