In 2012, Canada will host 5 Iron-distance triathlons.
Of course, the obvious ones are from the WTC, Ironman Canada, the oldest IronMan (after Hawaii) located in Penticton, BC.
Next in our timeline, comes Iron-distance Esprit in Montreal, QC. A few years ago, Somersault successfully introduced the Canadian in Ottawa. Next year, the WTC will give us IM in Tremblant, QC.
And finally thank to Tim Chesnutt from Dartmouth (Halifax’s twin city across the harbor) for introducing EPIC DARTMOUTH in Nova Scotia.
Triathlon events are definitely a growing market. In the States, new series like HITS and REV3 (with Challenge in Europe) are setting ground competing with the WTC.
And in a smaller scale, many local events are popping up everywhere to help fulfill the racing needs of more and more triathletes.
Where there is room for big companies like REV3, HITS, WTC … there is also room for your little local « organic » home grown triathlon.
Although, this one is not so little.
Thanks to Tim for sharing this interview with us.
Trimes: Tim, tell us who you are ? What is the history of the relation between you and triathlon ?
Tim: Thanks Olivier. My personal triathlon history with triathlon dates back to the Fall of 1999 when I saw a sign posted seeking volunteers for a local triathlon. I wound up handing out water on the run course and was taken by the idea of completing a triathlon. Mind you, I didn’t own a bike, and I couldn’t easily swim a length of the pool, but two years later in 2001, I completed 13 events over the course of that summer, then my first Half in 2004, and IMLP in 2005.
Trimes: Tell us about the Triathlon in NS ? And how did you came up with the idea of a race in Dartmouth … let alone a race, why an Iron-distance ?
Tim: There is a rich and vibrant triathlon series in Nova Scotia. We don’t have a huge population, yet we have a large number of multisport athletes traveling around the province each weekend of the summer competing in various duathlons and triathlons in great locations with simply spectacular scenery. Yet we also have another group of dedicated triathletes, flying under the radar, putting in huge training hours and traveling across Canada, across the US, and around the world in search of long-distance events. We often don’t see these folks at local Sprints and Olympic events as they may need that time for a long run, or a six-hour training ride, yet they are here, and as they have no local headline event, they are largely invisible to our novice triathletes, and to our community at large.
This year, with the impetus of a new long distance race in Mt. Tremblant, we saw a large group of local triathletes making the jump to sign up for their first full distance event. We floated the idea of a long distance training day modeled after Dev Paul’s EPICMAN Lake Placid training day (3.8k/ 180k/21.1k). The idea being that running a full marathon after the swim and the bike will knock most people down for a month, but with only a half marathon, and for someone in the bulk of their training, the training volumes are roughly right, and the time to bounce back is about a week.
What we heard back is that folks loved the idea, but wanted it to be a real race. I said I was prepared to organize it, but I didn’t want to wonder if anyone would show up come race day. I told them I didn’t know the date, I didn’t know the course, I didn’t know the cost, but if you want this race to happen, I need 30 people to commit and send me $50 before the end of the month – oh, and it’s non refundable. By the end of the month I had received cheques from 45 – not just from Nova Scotia, but from New Brunswick and Ontario as well.
So the race weekend is called EPIC Dartmouth. Why Dartmouth? Well, it’s where I live for starters, but is is a fantastic location for a race.
Trimes : Could you tell us about the race ?
Tim : Our swim will be in Lake Banook. This may possibly be the best natural swim location for spectators in all of triathlon. This lake has hosted World Championship Canoe and Kayak events four times over the years, and has both a natural amphitheater, and stadium seating built into an overlooking hill – or spectators can be close to the actual swimmers anywhere along the boardwalk paralleling the swim. (Trimes says : there is even the « ropes » setup on the lake like in Lake Placid).
Our cycle course traces a line along the edge of a seven lake chain as you depart the city on one of our main cycling routes, then turns cross country on smooth pavement and quiet roads for 2/3’s of the entire route. There is only one noted climb at halfway, but the rolling nature of the route makes up 1900M of climbing for the full 180 course – it’s a great ride for training or competing.
Finally our run course also takes in the beauty of our lakes and parks, using the multi-use trail around Lake Banook (our swim venue), and along the Shubinacadie Canal, through the heart of Shubie Park. The finish line is back on the shores of Lake Banook, with Fireworks planned to celebrate the final finishers and Canada’s 145th birthday.
To be clear, our title event is EPIC Dartmouth, but there are three separate races in order that there can be a great distance for every entrant – wherever they are in their training cycle:
AQUA Dartmouth – 3.8k / 180k
EPIC Dartmouth – 3.8k / 180k / 21.2k
IRON Dartmouth – 3.8k / 180k / 42.2k
For those that sometimes voice IRON distance races are too easy by using a midnight cutoff, they will like we have a 10 o’clock finish and a 15 hour cutoff instead. The other difference with our event is that everyone can be a finisher. If something unexpectedly goes sideways for a competitor on race day? – nutrition issues, heat problems, injury, they can then make a game day decision to finish a different event than the one they started. As long as they make it back from the bike, they will be shown as a finisher for one of our three events and wearing our event schwag, medal, and T-shirt.
Trimes: What kind of support do you have from the community ? The triathletes ? From local businesses and authorities ?
Is the NS Triathlon Association helping the project in any way ?
Tim: The city has immediately been on board (I think they like the name of the event!) They invited us to a meeting of about 15 city departments to review our plans, ask questions, and offer their support for a safe and exciting event. Our race committees are largely composed of local triathletes, runners and cyclists, along with organizing input from experienced long-distance triathletes – many of whom will be competing in the event.
Triathlon Canada’s chief Technical Delegate for this region has completed the site visits for the swim course, cycle course, and run course as of last weekend, and the board of Triathlon Nova Scotia is very excited about this race.
We have been approached by a number of potential sponsors that your readers will be very familiar with, and some that will be new to them. We will start to unveil our corporate partners as we roll into 2012 (we already have funding in place for our first year). Our first focus is on getting the structure of the race finished for a safe and successful inaugural event.
Our goal is this: if competitors did not know this was a first year event, they would not be able to tell. The standard we are working for is not modest, but it is simple: We want this to be a ‘must repeat’ event. The kind of event that once you participate you not only immediately add it to your calendar for the following year, but start getting your friends together to sign up with you.
Trimes: Both Montreal and Ottawa, also offers an Iron-distance triathlon, outside of the big brands. Now you will be one of them too.
What do you have to offer to the participants, that maybe we could not see in Montreal and Ottawa ?
Tim: To start with, our course. Our race course is spectacular. We will swim in a beautiful, fresh and clean lake. Our cycle course is not in a city, but along a sparkling chain of lakes, cross country on smooth pavement and quiet country roads, and then paralleling a beautiful river all the way to the turn around point. Finally the well-supported, clearly marked, run course, finishing on the shores of Lake Banook during daylight, or coming in at dusk under Canada Day fireworks. Having attended a dozen long distance events, I can confidently say competitors and spectators will both love our course.
Next? We WANT you to come. Our triathletes WANT you to come. We offer both a travel discount and help with accommodations once you are here. For years, our triathletes have been travelling the world to long-distance events in far-flung places. Now it is our turn to play host, and we are excited to have the opportunity to do so. Nova Scotia is referred to as « Canada’s Ocean Playground », and has been a popular vacation destination for decades. This year, make Nova Scotia your summer vacation destination, and let us show you an EPIC time!
Trimes: The website is up and filling up with content, registrations is now open. I heard you have confirmed people already ?
Tim: Yes, we will open registration, hopefully in the next few days. In the meantime, we are inviting people to come and see for themselves what we have to offer. They can leave their email address and we will let them know the moment registration opens.
Trimes: Is there anything else we should know about the event ?
Tim: Yes. We want people to come celebrate this new event with us. Sometimes people hesitate to enter a first year event, unsure of whether the logistics will be properly in place by race day. The actual race organization, structure, full written plans and volunteer schedules are largely completed, and will be fully in place by Dec 31st of this year. We want to be in a position to actually run this event six months early so as to ensure that we run a clockwork event come July 1st.
How about a discount? For those that sign up prior to year end, we are offering $75 off for early entry.
How about travel assistance? Our Nova Scotia triathletes travel all over the world to find races. Now that we have a race worthy of their consideration, we want them to join us and we can help put that together for them. We are offering a travel discount of $100 for racers coming from outside North America, and $50 to help with travel from outside of the Maritime provinces.
How about accommodations? If you are coming in just for the race, we can arrange a home stay – Nova Scotia hospitality is unparalleled. We have four hotels surrounding the course that are offering preferential pricing during the event, and just announced on our website is the CanaDream Athletes Village. Our run course passes through a beautiful urban campground in the heart of Shubie Park. Bring your own RV, or arrange a RV rental with CanaDream and bring your entire family to this event. While you are on course competing, your family can be swimming in clean, lifeguarded lakes, playing in the playgrounds, and enjoying this expansive park (only a ten minute walk from a major shopping and dinning area as well). On the run portion of the event, you will run up the CanaDream hill several times, past your family’s relaxed and comfortable campsite – how perfect is that for a dream vacation?