The Natural High Charity Triathlon is one which I have been doing for the past few years. I have watched it grow into a real family event with various races and activities for the whole family. The triathlon this year was a full sprint, with an open water swim in a private lake in Okotoks. It makes it a great setting for first time open water triathletes and we saw a few of them at the race this year. It’s always exciting to see new people trying out the sport.
The swim was 750 meters, two laps, and after the first lap there was an exit and run around a marker before heading back in for the second lap. It was a beach start and the first 200m of the swim involved a lot of body contact and splashing. My goal was to try and not be too far behind the lead group so I knew that I would end up in the thick of things. So with a number of kicks and slaps from people as they jostled for position and with several unhelpful and unintentional swallows of lake water I made it around the first lap and the field spread apart a little making it less crowded for the second lap and I was able to get into a better rhythm. I was able to exit the water in the top ten for which I was pleased.
My transition was slow. I need more practice taking off my wet suit! But once I was on the bike I was able to get into a good pace. The bike course was three laps with a gradual climb leading to a faster decent. It made for a good bike course. The bike is my weakest discipline so I was inevitably passed by a couple of the stronger riders before it was back into the transition area and off on the run.
The run felt good. It was an out and back 5K course, which I like because you can get a better idea of where you are sitting in the pack. The women had started ahead of the men so there were lots of people on the course. I was able to reel in several of those who had been able to pass me on the bike which led to a 6th place finish overall and a third place in my age group with a time of 1:06:39.
This was a better time than last year, even with the addition if the extra 50m in the swim. But last year’s bike course was quite different than this year’s. There were some obvious areas for improvement namely the transitions. But overall the race went very well.
This is a charity triathlon with all the proceeds going to the charity kids sport, which assists kids who need help in participating in sports by helping to provide sports equipment. There was a great BBQ after the race and a number of door prizes. Sadly I did not win the bike which was on offer, but did come away with a couple of nice candle holders made from bike chains. This is certainly one of my favourite races and it’s already penciled in on the calendar for next year.
Tri Swim Coach Ambassador
Martin lives in Brooks, Alberta. He has done a number of sprint and olympic distance races. His goal for 2015 is to do well at the World Championships in Chicago.