After completing her first Whitehorse Triathlon last year, winning the Olympic women’s division with the third-fastest time on the day, Whitehorse’s Colleen Latham joked, “It would have been nice to be first overall.”
A year later, her comment is more prophetic than humourous.
On Sunday, Latham defended her title, coming in with the fastest overall time to win the 2010 Whitehorse Triathlon.
Latham, who finished with a time of two hours, 11 minutes and 46 seconds, led her division in all three disciplines, eventually coming in almost 18 minutes ahead of second place, Olympic female competitor Maura Sullivan.
“I got a little lost on my lap-count (in the pool), so I was surprised when I was told I was finished when I thought I had another 10 laps,” said Latham. “Everything else went OK.
“I’ve been, for the last few months, working on the swim. So I was trying to see where I am with the swim.
“This is sort of a testing ground for me.”
In the spring, the national governing body, Triathlon Canada, issued Latham elite amateur status, allowing her to advance to the next level of competition. With her new status, Latham will be competing at a Continental Cup in San Francisco this summer.
Last summer, Latham finished first in the age-group division – a division lower than elite athlete – at the national championship in Kelowna, BC. She also took first for women in an Olympic-length triathlon in Lethbridge, Alberta, at the start of last summer.
“So that’s my goal, to achieve standards Triathlon Canada has set to make the national team and go and do world cup events,” said Latham. “I’m hoping next year to do that.”
While Latham was way out in front of competitors in her division, in the Olympic male division the two top finishers saw a fair bit of each other in the race.
Whitehorse’s Ian Parker won the division with less than a minute-and-a-half on second place’s Joel Macht, who won the triathlon the previous two years.
After finishing second in the pool, 2:14 behind Macht, Parker took the lead on the second loop of the cycling. However, just as things seemed to be going his way, Parker gave up the lead with a flat tire on the final loop.
“It’s part of the sport, but it probably cost me about three minutes,” said Parker. “It’s kind of demoralizing when it happens, especially on the last lap like that, but you just try to stay calm and do what you got to do.
“I didn’t let (Macht) stop. He rode by and I was joking if it was him on the side of the road, I would have rode by and yelled ‘Sucker’ at him. But Joel asked if I had what I needed and I said, ‘Yeah, go ahead.’”
Parker, set a personal best in the pool, swimming 1,500-metres in 25:48, breaking the 27-minute mark for the first time. Despite the flat, Parker finished with the fasted time in the cycling for the Olympic males division, finishing the race in 2:15:37.
“I was probably about 100-metres behind (Latham) when I flatted,” said Parker. “It’s too bad. It would have been fun to run with her, but she’s so strong she would have won anyway.”
Sunday’s triathlon was Parker’s fifth time competing in the event as an individual, picking up a third place and three second places over the years. He also did a half-iron man last weekend in Vancouver, finishing second in his category.
“The sport is so elusive that I think it’s probably pretty rare that someone puts together the perfect race – the best swim, the best run, the best ride,” said Parker. “There’s always something that goes wrong.
“Today I was thinking, ‘Man, a personal best in the pool,’ I was riding strong, and I thought, ‘Today’s the day I’m going to put it all together and I’m going to retire and never do another triathlon.’ As soon as I had that thought, I thought I just cursed myself, and 30 seconds later I blew that tire.
“So now I’ll have to do another one someday to try and get that elusive perfect race.”
Reclaiming the Olympic team title was Haley’s Comet, who finished second last year but won in 2008. Headed by Glacier Bears Swim Club’s Haley Braga, the team also includes VeloNorth cyclist Derrick Hynes and Sue Bogle, who won the women’s half-marathon at last year’s Yukon River Trail Marathon in Whitehorse. The team also won last summer’s Long Lake Triathlon – with another cyclist filling in for Hynes. In fact, the team will have to find a replacement for Hynes, who is moving to Ottawa next month.
“It was a great day – you couldn’t ask for better weather,” said Hynes. “From a running or cycling perspective, there was hardly any wind.
“We all did well. Haley was the first person out of the pool – she’s 13-years-old and she was the first person out of the pool. It’s just remarkable when you think about it.
“She gave me a nice big, fat lead to work with and I was able to hold on to that. Then Sue gave us a bigger lead because she had such a strong run today.”
Hynes was second fastest on the bikes, with Stephan Ball, off the second-place team, The Badger’s Armpit, coming in 45 seconds ahead of Hynes, but not enough to overcome the three-and-a-half minute lead Braga established in the pool.
“(Ball) told me he never saw me on the road,” said Hynes. “I don’t look back, so I don’t know. But he was looking for me and he didn’t see me.”
This year’s triathlon, the hub of which was the Canada Games Centre, utilized the new Hamilton Boulevard extension for the cycling discipline, completing two or three circuits, depending on the division.
“I really liked the bike course,” said Latham. “It’s spectator friendly because you can actually have the opportunity to see people go around a loop, so you don’t have to disappear for an hour-and-a-half down the Alaska Highway.”
Olympic length division included a 1,500-metre swim – broken into lengths at the Canada Games Centre pool – a 40-kilometre cycle and a 10-kilometre run. The sprint classes performed a 500-metre swim, a 26-kilometre cycle and a five-kilometre run.
Winning the sprint division were Meagan Wilson in the female division and Spencer Sumanik in the male.
As for other local, upcoming triathlon events, Parker is once again organizing the Dry-Tri to take place July 10 at Takhini Hot Springs. Perfect for those who don’t enjoy swimming, the event has participants run, then mountain bike, then run again.
On August 8 athletes will be taking to the chilly lake waters in the Long Lake Triathlon, which puts participants through a one-kilometre swim, a 15.5-kilometre cycle and a six-kilometre run.
Top 10 results
1st Colleen Latham – 2:11:46
2nd Maura Sullivan – 2:29:43
3rd Laura Salmon – 2:39:26
4th Kerrie Paterson – 2:42:35
5th Kaley Strachan – 2:42:41
6th Morgan Bouquot – 2:51:41
7th Janet Arntzen – 2:54:25
8th Cassandra Kelly – 3:00:06
9th Andrea Buckley – 3:00:07
10th Brittany Greer – 3:00:25
1st Ian Parker – 2:15:37
2nd Joel Macht – 2:17:05
3rd Jud Deuling – 2:23:04
4th John Berryman – 2:25:26
5th Bill Parry – 2:25:48
6th Simon Lapointe – 2:28:56
7th Elijah Buffalo – 2:33:10
8th Grant Lyon – 2:39:06
9th Cory Gordon – 2:41:53
10th Stephen Rose – 2:46:29
1st Haley’s Comet (Haley Braga/Derrick Hynes/Sue Bogle) – 2:09:35
2nd The Badger’s Armpit (Jenni Beauregard/Stephan Ball/Natalie Thivierge) – 2:18:15
3rd Old Enough (Olwyn Bruce/Catherine Welsh/Rosie Cobbett) – 2:38:43
4th PCB’s (Paul Dobbs/Bhreagh Dobbs/Mike Code) – 2:50:42
5th Wild Things (Mary Anne Myers/Marg Wallace/Robin Hamilton) – 2:51:42
6th Kenji’s Angels (Kirsti Muller/Corrine Treteault/Jeanette Gallant) – 2:54:44
7th Fins and Feet (Nancy McCallum/Ewa Dembek/Ewa Dembek) – 2:55:43
8th Thigh Masters (Ann Chapman/Jay Vall/Heather Johnson) – 3:01:15
9th Dust Eaters (Keara Hlewka/Catherine O’Donovan/Sarah Mundell) – 3:05:25
1st Meagan Wilson – 1:27:27
2nd Hilary Lindh – 1:31:43
3rd Penny Sheardown – 1:33:54
4th Helen Eddy – 1:34:52
5th Margo Hager – 1:35:26
6th Amy Battersby – 1:36:07
7th Glenda Koh – 1:36:37
8th Alison Morham – 1:37:17
9th Kyla Johnson – 1:38:05
10th Pam Taylor – 1:38:46
1st Spencer Sumanik – 1:18:29
2nd Tim Sellars – 1:23:13
3rd Terry Joss – 1:33:37
4th Rob Florkiewcz – 1:37:51
5th Patrick Gardiner – 1:38:19
6th Jonathan Buckle – 1:38:34
7th Leslie Walker – 1:39:41
8th Randy Lamb – 1:39:56
9th Rodney D’Abramo – 1:46:02
10th Kevin McDonnell – 1:48:12
1st Team Mellow (Elaise Dion-Lafortune/Nicole Dion/Antoine Dion-Lafortune) – 1:37:30
2nd Pinridge Partners (Shannon Ryan/Shannon Ryan/Emily Woodruff) – 1:40:00
3rd Sizzlin Seniors (Sheila Senger/Dennis Senger/Richard Zral) – 1:40:24
4th Mat (Andrea Clark/Tammi Wallace/Maggie Powter) – 1:45:23
1st Bakica Boys (Luke Bakica/David Bakica/Luke Bakica) – 1:41:05
2nd Team Harvey (Taylor Harvey/George Harvey/Aidan Harvey) – 1:55:51
Contact Tom Patrick at email@example.com