A lull in the Ontario duathlon scene can only mean one thing…time for a new feature! Periodically we will highlight something that has caught our attention in the Ontario Duathlon scene. We’ll take a look at a community, an off the beaten track race, an athlete, or some wild card that doesn’t fit into a category but deserves mention. Since we are approaching the 2 month mark of the 2014 duathlon season, it seems like an appropriate time to kick this off. This weekend did see 34 duathletes in action at Smith Falls in the Somersault series, which will be recapped following the feature. We hope you will enjoy it! Let’s get to it…
Despite many new and exciting entries to the Ontario duathlon calendar, it was the third running of this small duathlon in Harrow, Ontario that burst onto the scene as a great season opener for Ontario duathletes who make the trek. The experience was so good that it stuck in our minds for 2 months while countless other races came and went. The cancellation of the popular Victoria’s Duathlon created a vacancy for the traditional season opener, and the Iron Hawk used its designation as the Ontario Sprint Duathlon Championships to show Ontario what it could do. The Iron Hawk did not disappoint, as the overall race saw 5 competitors break the 1:00 barrier, with a further six under 1:01. The race was well-run for a great cause, and attracted names over from the triathlon such as Lionel Sanders, Connor Darlington, Sean Bechtel, and Austen and Taylor Forbes. Harrow District High School students and administration did a fantastic job of running the event despite the influx of interest for this year’s edition, and put on a top notch event. Essex County’s temperate climate and flat profile make the Iron Hawk an excellent choice for a duathlon season opener, one that we hope will continue to draw competitors from all over Ontario. Side note, good guy of the month award goes to 3rd place finisher Sjaan Gerth, who beat some strong competition in his first duathlon back, before donating his prize winnings back to the cause!
Windsor & Essex County Multisport Community, Ontario
Just as the Iron Hawk continued to impress us after almost 2 months of races, so too does the Windsor/Essex county multisport community. Originally coming from the area, I have always been impressed with how the community supports its multisport athletes, and seeing it out in full force at Iron Hawk was a sight to see. The roads coming out of transition heading out in both directions were crowded with knowledgeable spectators, cheering many athletes on by name despite having no names printed on the bibs. Many spectators stayed right until the very end, cheering on every last competitor. It was awesome to feel the support, especially as a long-time Windsor resident.
Windsor has a very diverse triathlon community that seems to all come together to support local events. Iron Hawk is joined on the local calendar by the Tomatoman Triathlon/Duathlon in June (Leamington), the Belle River Triathlon/Duathlon now hosted in July, and the Windsor/Tecumseh Triathlon/Duathlon to close out the season in August. The races are run with extreme competence by passionate locals like John McKibbon (Belle River and Tecumseh) and regularly well-attended by the Windsor Triathlon Club, a fantastically supportive club, especially for beginners. Regular training sessions are held by the club, as well as by the Malden Park Runners and Blue Heron Blazers (directed by duathlete Ryan Allison). The Essex County triathlon community receives fantastic support from the Running Factory, Cycle Culture, and Ambassador Bicycles as they chase after podium finishes all over Canada and the United States.
Notable duathletes from Windsor and Essex County include Daryl Flacks (defending Tomatoman Sprint Du champion), occasional DC feature writer Brad Reiter (2013 Provincial Sprint Du champion), Ryan Allison, and sometimes duathlete Kirstie Kniaziew, who despite spending time in the water is the two-time defending provincial sprint duathlon champion.
Thank you to Essex County for hosting the first of 4 championship races to be held in Ontario this year, Essex County, and we look forward to doing it all again for Sprint Duathlon Nationals in Belle River this weekend!
Smith Falls Results
The only race on the weekend was in the Somersault Series, in Smith Falls. 34 athletes competed in the 2k run/20k bike/5k run sprint duathlon, where Gino Bonneville came away the convincing winner with a time of 1:03:33. Gino never looked back after a race-fastest 8:37 2k run, recording the fastest splits in all three legs en route to the win. Lisa Balerna was both the overall women’s winner and the 2nd overall finisher, cruising into T1 in second place and never relinquishing that spot. Ottawa athletes looked strong on Canada Day Weekend! Results can be found in our Schedule & Results page.
Men’s Overall/40+ Winner – Gino Bonneville
Women’s Overall/40+ Winner – Lisa Balerna
Next up is a big weekend in Ontario, headlined by the Canadian Sprint Duathlon Championships in Belle River (International Distance also available), but also featuring the Multisport Canada Huronia Sprint Duathlon, the Subaru Peterborough Half and Sprint races, Joe’s Team Duathlon in Muskoka, and a unique off-road duathlon held during the Mine Over Matter XTERRA race at Kelso Conservation Area in Milton, Ontario. Course previews will be up Wednesday or Thursday, and a race preview for Nationals to follow on Friday or Saturday morning. If you haven’t registered for your races, do so ASAP by clicking the link earlier in this paragraph! As of this writing, there are only 24 athletes registered in the Sprint Duathlon Nationals in Belle River. Continued support from Triathlon Ontario and Canada relies on these registration numbers.
National Championship Madness is here, happy training!