August 25 marked a new chapter in North American Iron Distance racing with the introduction of the Challenge Family Races in Penticton Canada. While Penticton has been part of long course lore for decades, a new race company coupled with a ton of first time iron distance athletes headed up made this event even more exciting than usual. While I wasn’t able to make the trip this time personally, I was in consistent with the athletes leading up to race day, and then following them via tracking software all day long on Sunday! The general consensus was that Challenge put on a good show—some pluses and some minuses compared to other long course race brands but the city itself continues to put on a great show, an amazing race venue, and some great support folks in that community.
In general, the combination of Hyatt Training and Portland Triathlon Club athletes I had worked with did amazingly well. Every person who started finished. And ultimately, when your plan is to be out there for 140.6 miles of swimming, biking and running, that’s a big enough goal in itself! And I have not heard anyone say they would never do another race of that distance again. Sometimes it’s the accomplishment, the challenge, the drive to do better that pushes people but sometimes it’s just the idea of pushing yourself up against the wall and making sure you can still get push back that keeps us coming back for races that, even on the best days, drive us to deep dark places that other experiences just can’t match.
At the end of the day, a very proud coach. A reminder of why I do this and what it means to the athletes I work with. And some inspiration for all of us, no matter what the Challenge we face that you get can keep pushing back against all odds if your body and mind are in the right place!