A local triathlete surprised herself after a great finish in the Arizona Ironman Triathlon in Tempe, Ariz. last month.
It was only Carol Corbett’s second full triathlon so when the Fruitvale resident returned to her hotel shortly after the race and checked the results, she found she had placed second in the women’s 50-55 age category; a result that qualified her for a spot in the World Ironman Triathlon Championship in Kona, Hawaill in October.
“The race felt almost easy,” said Corbett. “I guess that’s a sign you know you did the training right, and I can thank my coach for that.”
In almost perfect conditions, Corbett began the race hoping to cut 30 minutes from her time at the 2010 Ironman Canada Triathlon in Penticton.
She succeeded, shaving more than 32 minutes off her only previous full ironman, completing the race in 11 hours, 28 minutes and 20 seconds – 12 minutes behind first-place qualifier Barbara Kuhlemeier of Minot, N.D.
Corbett was disappointed with the first leg, a grueling four-kilometre swim and came out of the water in 28th place.
However, she turned it on in the 180-km bike, pedaling into third spot and then moving up one, despite an injury in the last 10-K of the 42-km run, to finish second in her group.
“I’m still pretty stunned by it and it’s one of those things where well, you got it now what are you going to do . . . I don’t think it really hit me until later.”
Corbett entered the event after a series of serendipitous events brought her to Arizona to compete.
Looking to purchase a triathlon road bike, she found a used one for sale in Arizona. She and her husband Andrew decided to turn it into a holiday of sorts and ended up buying a condo while they were there picking up the bike.
The couple was in Arizona during last year’s race, so she decided to try to enter the event that normally fills up very quickly.
“I just thought, well, I’ll just go on the Internet and see if I can get a spot when they open them up the day after the race, and I got one.”
The 52-year-old reviewed her goals and with a year of training ahead of her decided to aim high.
“Why don’t I see if I can get a spot for Kona (Hawaii)?” she thought. “Let’s go big or go home and I’m quite shocked that I did to be honest.”
Corbett only started competing four years ago and entered half triathlons and shorter races before tackling the Ironman in Penticton last year.
She finished 10th in her age group in Penticton after qualifying in Oliver and came second in a half-triathlon at Sylvan Lake in July.
“I ran recreationally and had never done anything competitive, now that I’m doing this, I think nah, I didn’t even run, I just kind of jogged before,” said Corbett.
Close to 2,500 athletes participated in the event including almost 100 in Corbett’s category.
Corbett will take a break until the real work starts and as the time draws closer, will easily spend 20-hours per week training for Hawaii.
She credits Gericks Cycle and the High Altitude Triathlon Club as an excellent local club that can help train and mentor current and potential triathletes.