Subaru ironman: Local contingent enters triathlon

A handful of Greater Trail athletes will tackle the toughest test in sport as they prepare for the Subaru Ironman Triathlon.

A handful of Greater Trail athletes will tackle the toughest test in sport as they prepare for the Subaru Ironman Triathlon in Penticton on Sunday.

Rossland’s Dallas Cain will look to break the elusive nine-hour barrier in the professional men’s category and improve on his 16th place finish last year.

He will be joined once again by his brother Ryan from Cranbrook, as well as Susan Benzer from Rossland, Mike Konkin of Trail and Fruitvale’s Tara Fielder-Graham.

The tri-athletes face a 3.8-kilometre swim, a 180 km bike ride, and a 42.2 km run. Last year the thermometer registered 36 C compounding the demands of an already grueling race.

Curtis Sherstobitoff from Castlegar and Kim Irving, Danica Lee and Peter Lee of Nelson will also participate.

Ironman triathlon had the humblest of beginnings, as a group of Navy Seals who were stationed in Hawaii, were discussing who were the fittest athletes in the world. Were swimmers, cyclists or runners the fittest? Navy commander John Collins decided there was only one way to find out, and that was to combine all three.

So in February 1978, 15 competitors decided to put themselves to the test by swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles and running 26.2 miles.

“Whoever finishes first will be called the Ironman,” Collins said. And thus, Ironman Triathlon was born.

Since those humble beginnings, the sport of Ironman has developed into an international phenomenon.  With numerous full-distance races worldwide, more than 25,000 athletes are expected to compete in Ironman events in 2011.

Held in Penticton, British Columbia, Subaru Ironman Canada is the oldest Ironman race held in continental North America.

Subaru Ironman Canada will take place for the 30th consecutive time in 2012 and continues to be regarded as one of the best Ironman events due to its classic course and history.

Penticton has a population of 30,000 and is up held as one of the most athlete-friendly cities.

The great support of the city of Penticton contributes 4,500 volunteers; this group has been given the name “Iron Army” and provide support for one of the most timeless events in the sport of triathlon.