The Subaru Ironman 70.3 Victoria is taking place on June 2. (Peninsula News Review File)

Athletes steel themselves for Ironman Victoria challenge

70.3 mile course taking in Elk Lake and Saanich Peninsula described as one of world’s best

What’s tougher than a two kilometre swim? A two kilometer swim in a lake, followed by a 90 kilometre bike ride and a 21 kilometre run perhaps? All starting at 5:50 a.m.

The 2019 Subaru Ironman 70.3 Victoria is taking place on June 2 at Elk Lake and will welcome 2,150 competitors to Greater Victoria. Most of the athletes are from Canada and the Pacific Northwest of the USA, but this year will also see others from further afield, including contingents from the UK and Mexico.

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Ironman races started in Hawaii after an argument among local athletes as to who was fitter – swimmers, cyclists or runners – and so by adding the islands’ three toughest races in each discipline together, one of the world’s most challenging single-day endurance events was born.

The 70.3 refers to the total distance covered in miles (113 kilometres) and is also known as a half-Ironman as there is a 140.6 version, requiring athletes to be supremely fit to complete the course.

This year the event will offer 40 qualifying slots to the 2019 Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Nice, France.

On offer will be an additional 25 slots dedicated to the Women for Tri initiative, applied across all female age group categories.

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Race Director Tim Dale is excited for the event. “We’re looking forward to showcasing the Saanich Peninsula, Victoria and Vancouver Island to the world,” he says. “Hopefully the international competitors will spend a few extra days here experiencing the local area, it’s cool how out of all the world events they choose to come compete here.”

The quality of field is high, attracted to the event due to the beauty of the course.

“Out of 108 70.3s, we’ve been voted in the Top 10 swim courses in the world for the second year in a row,” Dale says.

“The bike and run courses are also so beautiful, you get to see a little of the farming, the orchards, you go through Sidney and see the ocean,” he says, noting that in 2017 the run course was also voted Top 10 in the world.

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Competitors sign in and get their race packs the preceding two days before the races start June 2.

The pro men start at 5:50 a.m., followed by the pro women at 6 a.m. and the age group heats 10 minutes later.

The 2019 Subaru Ironman 70.3 Victoria runs from 5:50 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. and spectators are welcome. For more information visit ironman.com.



nick.murray@peninsulanewsreview.com

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