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Cowichan Ceevacs conquer Ironman Penticton

Runners from Mill Bay and Shawnigan Lake also participated in iconic race
Duncan’s Trish Laliberte on the bike portion of Ironman Canada’s Penticton race Aug. 27. (Courtesy of Trish Laliberte)

The Penticton Ironman is well known amongst athletes as one of the world’s premier triathlon events, and, according to the IronMan website, “a bucket list destination for Ironman athletes all over the world.”

This year the event took place Aug. 27 and featured a 3.8 km lake swim, a 180 km hilly bike course and challenging 42 kms of rolling hills on the run.

A trio of Ceevacs Roadrunners participated in the event with Cowichan’s Jesse Inkster completing the race 193rd overall, in a time of 11:38:42 — good for 30th in the M35-39 division and 167 of all men competing.

In the M55-59 division, Cowichan’s Rob Grant ranked 24th, finishing with a time of 12:16:00. He placed 260th among all men and 312th overall.

For Grant it was a significant improvement over his 2019 time of 12:57:36.

“I was very pleasantly surprised that I actually got a 12:16:00,” Grant said. “I was not expecting that at all.”

Grant credited living in the Valley and training on the hills around the region for his progress.

“It definitely helps to train in hills because in Penticton, it was a tough course,” he said.

Grant’s 2019 time came at Ironman Whistler.

“This was my first time in Penticton so it was actually quite cool,” he said. “Both have their challenges and both have absolutely beautiful scenery,” he said. “Both are tough but Penticton is the legend.”

Cowichan’s Trish Laliberte finished in a time of 12:20:50 for ninth in her division, 59th among female competitors and 338th overall.

“I can finally check an Ironman off my bucket list,” Laliberte said. “I’ve done quite a few challenging endurance events where most ‘normal people’ would say I’m crazy, however Ironman Canada has been one of the most excruciatingly awesome events to date.”

Other Valley residents not affiliated with Ceevacs also fared well. “David Huntley had an awesome race. He had a great time.”

Cowichan Bay’s Huntley finished in 11:21:50, good for 142nd overall, 121st by gender and 22nd of 144 in the M40-44 grouping.

Mill Bay’s Paul Auton’s 9:47:49 earned him fifth place in the M40-44 category, 19th amongst men and 19th overall.

Also competing from the Valley were Shawnigan Lake’s PJ Shea (M45-49 — 15:12:11) and Brian Keast, who didn’t have a finishing time.

Grant got into triathlon later in life but credits the club with turning him into an athlete.

“The people in Ceevacs Roadrunners club are absolutely fantastic,” he explained. “I started with Ceevacs by taking in their running clinic and I did their run clinic three years and then I thought I was doing OK and then I started going to the Island race series and then I helped with the Cowichan Challenge Triathlon one year,” and that had him hooked.

“The rest is history, and I totally got sucked in on triathlon,” he said.

For those who would like to take up running Grant pointed to Ceevacs as a resource.

“The people there are super supportive they love sharing their knowledge and experience,” he said.