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Sandquist tops Cowichan finishers in Ironman 70.3 Victoria

Cowichan’s own Jason Sandquist was the top Cowichan Valley competitor at the 2024 Victoria Ironman 70.3 on Saturday, May 25.

Sandquist placed first in his division (m55-59) and 32nd overall at the annual event saw 1,433 participants take on the challenge which included a 1.9-kilometre swim in Elk Lake, a 90-km bike around the entirety of the Saanich Peninsula and a 21.1-km run around the lake from Hamsterly Beach Park.

Sandquist’s swim time was 30:15.

“My swim was a bit below average for me,” he admitted. “I lined up behind much slower swimmers and had to swim alone and navigate those ahead. It was pretty uneventful.”

His bike time was his bike, 2:45:05.

“At 9C and raining the bike was going to be awful,” Sandquist noted. “I raced in Lhati, Finland last August in similar conditions at the ½ Ironman World Championship so I knew I was going to be extremely cold.”

The School District 79 administrator took the time to put on socks, shoe covers, arm warmers, vest and gloves, which proved tricky to put on when wet.

“It is really difficult to ride fast when your muscles are frozen and the roads are slippery,” Sandquist noted. “My bike time was very slow as a result.”

He was pleased with his run time of 1:28:39, however.

“My feet were completely numb at the start of the run. I couldn’t feel them until 8km into the final segment,” he said. “I was happy to finish and thaw out and it is nice to win my age-group. I race more to measure myself against my younger self performances than others. So I pushed hard on the run and I ended up 33 minutes ahead of second in my age-group.”

Sandquist had a total finishing time of 4:49:39.

“Everyone who finished on Sunday in such cold race conditions is a winner,” he said. “My congratulations to the other Cowichan Valley athletes who also raced.”

Duncan’s Jesse Inkster was 18th in the M40-44 division, and 150th overall, racing to a total time of 5:22:53. (34:51 swim, 2:55:42 bike, 1:41:43 run).

Also in the M40-44 division, Mill Bay’s Ryan Truant placed 25th, and 211th overall in a time of 5:33:05 (36:58 swim, 2:53:11 bike, 1:51:49 run).

Trish Laliberte of Duncan raced to eighth place in the W45-49 division and 480th overall. Her finishing time was 6:01:19 (39:21 swim, 3:19:16 bike, 1:53:03 run).

“The weather made it very difficult,” Laliberte admitted. Her eighth place finish is the same as when she did the Victoria 70.3 in 2022 but her time was about 30 minutes slower.

“Battling the elements was definitely physically challenging but it was truly more a mental battle for me,” Laliberte said.

“It took a lot of mental toughness from the very start, shivering in the pouring rain, waiting to get into the water, to being so frozen on the bike I couldn’t feel anything from the waist down even when my leg was bleeding from chafing, to running on numb feet hoping that I didn’t trip over them. Many, many times I wanted to give up and go back to bed. I had to dig deep to get to that finish line.”