Youth the focus for this year’s triathlon

Adam Guthrie may be a six-year veteran of the Woody’s RV World Triathlon, but as a first year junior he out ran the field. The 16-year-old Red Deer native finished more than eight minutes ahead of Ben Isaac the second place finisher to win the 15th annual race.

Photo by JOSH ALDRICH/Advocate staff -- for Josh's story -- Red Deer's Adam Guthrie sprints for the finish line to win the junior boys event at the Woody's RV World Triathlon at Michener Curling Rink in Red Deer on Sunday

Adam Guthrie may be a six-year veteran of the Woody’s RV World Triathlon, but as a first year junior he out ran the field.

The 16-year-old Red Deer native finished more than eight minutes ahead of Ben Isaac the second place finisher to win the 15th annual race.

His rise to the top of the leaderboard is no fluke. He has been building to this level for a number of years now, competing twice at the Alberta Summer Games and last year was a member of the Alberta development team.

“It’s nice to bring home a medal in the hometown (race), I really enjoyed doing that,” he said. “I’ve been training for the last year (for today), but my first triathlon was when I was in Grade 5 and then I started training in the summer, but the last couple of years it’s been a year round kind of deal.”

Guthrie crossed the finish line in one hour, three minutes and 23 seconds. He finished the swim in 11:23, the biking portion in 32:45 and the run in 18:55. Isaac was the second runner to cross the line in 1:11:58 while Riley Stuermer was third at 1:15.03

Guthrie was just as excited to see the numbers out at the Michener Hill Curling Rink to compete in the triathlon. Race officials say 504 kids registered for the race, setting a new high for the event.

“When we get this many people out, it shows that it is important and that people care,” he said. “I’ve been to the Alberta Summer Games twice and it’s a struggle to get into the event but the more we do this the better chance we have to succeed.”

Dina Iatrou, 17, was the first junior girl to finish, completing the course in 1:12:51, more than five minutes ahead of Allison Currie (1:17:34) and Mackenzie Mumford (1:18:12).

She too was encouraged by the number of participants.

“I think it’s a good community race, it’s nice to get everyone out and having a good time,” said Iatrou. “It’s not all about how fast you finish, it’s just that you came out and you did it.”

Iatrou had competed in the Kids of Steel program for a few years growing up but had taken a few years off. She now uses the triathlon to cross-train for other sports, namely track and field and cross-country — she is headed to Lethbridge next year and will be competing for the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns teams in those two sports.

“I think it’s just fun to do all three events and its a totally different sport, it’s like the ultimate sport,” said Iatrou. “Not a lot of people are able to handle all of it but it’s all mental, I like the mental aspect of it.”

Iatrou was also involved in another in-competition game. Her Hunting Hills Lightning were competing against the Lindsay Thurber Raiders as the two triathlon programs at the school were using the race as a final exam. However, her fast time was not enough to boost Hunting Hills past the Raiders who had the cumulative fastest time among their top 10 runners.

It was just an added wrinkle for organizers.

With a volunteer force of about 250 and more than 500 kids to keep track of, race director Shaun Richard had his hands full on Sunday.

And this was without adults competing due to road construction that made it unsafe to hold their race. But organizers are dreaming of ways to get even more people involved.

“We always want to make it bigger and better,” said Richard, noting the first goal is to get the adults back in the race. “We’re already discussing the idea of having more racers in there and how we can do that without being there all day.”

Richard does credit the sponsors, volunteers and race committee, in particular Val Jensen, for their work in making the race a full family event. One of the committee’s biggest projects has been the race day activities that included bouncy castles, food for the competitors, a pancake breakfast, massage therapists and other booths and things geared towards creating a festival atmosphere.

“The race wouldn’t happen without them,” said Richard. “The committee was the backbone for me. We’ve all been there for months beforehand and without those guys the race wouldn’t take place.”

• Marcus Brown (42:41) and Tanille Collicutt (50:06) won the boys and girls 14-15 event; Mathias Gelber (36:23) and Asia Kern (37:53) won the 12-13 division; and Ronan Gelber (24:06) and Holly Moores (24:32) took the 10-11 event.

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