Retired chiropractor David Coates, 60, is one of 40 athletes from across Canada and the United States entered in the Canadian Modern Pentathlon Championships, coming to Red Deer on Saturday and Sunday, July 17 and 18.
Coates entered at the last minute after receiving notice that the Edmonton triathlon in which he had planned to complete had been cancelled because of a lack of entries.
Competitors are allowed to chose the events in which they will compete. Coates will fence, swim and take part in the new combined event, which involves running and shooting an air pistol.
But he will not compete in the horse riding event, which involves jumping fences on horses provided by the host stable.
“I enjoy doing the riding, I’ve never been concerned about it. But I haven’t been riding, so I won’t do that to the horses,” said Coates, who feels he would ride badly because he is out of practice.
A member of the Red Deer Fencing Club, he feels strongest in the fencing event and is looking forward with a degree of trepidation to the shooting and running combination.
Nerves and a high heart rate may make it difficult to actually aim the pistol, said Coates, who fears pellets could fly madly off in all directions.
Other Red Deer athletes taking part include Debbie Langvand, 51, her daughter, Karis, 18 and Emily Caine, also 18. Emily will do all five events, but Karis has had knee surgery, so will compete in fencing only and Debbie, who describes herself as a weak runner, will do the swim.
Star performers include Joshua Riker-Fox of Delacour, just outside of Calgary, who represented Canada in the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing.
Coates said it’s been difficult to attract large numbers of athletes to compete.
“Because pentathlon is a sport where there’s five different events within the one sport, it’s hard to get lots of people,” said Coates.
Red Deer first became involved in pentathlon through the fencing club in 1994. This will be the first national events since Coates hosted the competition from his and his wife, Cheryl’s acreage, located just south of the city.
Individual events go on Saturday, starting at 7 a.m. with fencing competitions at the Grandview Elementary school and moving from there to the Rec Centre’s outdoor pool for swimming at 11:30 a.m.
Horse riding is set for Willowdale Stables, southeast of Red Deer, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and wrap up with the combined event to take place on the biathlon trails at Riverbend Golf Course from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Sunday is the relay, starting with fencing at 7 a.m., followed by swimming at 11:30 and the combined event after lunch.
Spectators are welcome. There is no fee to attend.