A number of Central Alberta athletes will push themselves to the limits this coming Sunday in what has been named the single hardest one day endurance event in the world.
Seventeen athletes from Red Deer and Sylvan Lake will compete in the Ironman Canada triathlon which is set to be held in Penticton, B.C. on Aug. 29.
Between 2,200 and 2,600 athletes are expected to take part in this weekend’s event.
“The amount of people participating from this area is unreal,” said Scott McDermott, whose participating in his fourth Ironman Canada race and is also owner of Best Body Fitness in Sylvan Lake. “The most we’ve had from Sylvan Lake going to Ironman is two and the most Red Deer has had is three to five.”
The race includes a 3.8 km swim, a 180 km bike and a 42.2 run.
McDermott hopes to finish the race in 10 hours and 15 minutes. This would qualify him for the world championships in Hawaii.
“Time goals are a bit silly to set because it’s a big event and it’s a big day. But we all set them,” he said. “Anything can happen. You could be standing in the water ready to start and the cannon goes off and everyone heads to one buoy. Some people have been knocked unconscious. You can have your goggles ripped off. You can be kicked. It’s all accidental but there are a lot of unpredictable elements that can happen. On the bike you can get a flat tire, you can crash, you could break a chain. In the run, you can cramp up, you can start feeling dehydrated, you could trip and fall.
“There are a million things that could go wrong or there could be a million things that can go right.”
However, if athletes do not finish the race, which begins at 7 a.m., by midnight then they are pulled off the course.
“There’s about five to 10 per cent that don’t finish,” said McDermott. “But regardless we all have to dig to our deepest depths and suffer equally to push through.”
He added Central Albertans should be proud of the athletes heading to Ironman Canada.
“Theses athletes have sacrificed an unbelievable amount to do this,” said McDermott. “There have been sacrifices for their family and they’ve had no social life. The impact on the athlete’s family and support system is really huge and it’s really tough to do it on your own.”
He added athletes who are racing in the event have trained for numerous hours to get where they are.
“Most athletes have trained two years or more to get to this race,” said McDermott. “By the time the athletes stand at the start line of the race, a lot of them will have traveled about 7,000 kilometres in the pool, in the lake, on the bike and running.”
For more information on Ironman Canada visit www.ironman.ca.