Tyler Johnston, (middle) the winner of the 18th Woody’s Triathlon, along with Trevor Clippard (right) who finished second and Brian Dand (left) who finished third in the adult sprint race. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)

Another successful year for the Woody’s Triathlon in Red Deer

It was two days of polar opposite weather at the 18th Woody’s Triathlon in Red Deer, but the athletes and volunteers alike made the most of it.

After wet, soggy and rainy conditions on Saturday for the Kids of Steel race, on Sunday, 172 junior, adult and relay racers enjoyed pristine racing weather and put up some stellar times.

Race Director Shaun Richer said it was a battle for all the kids on day 1, but there were still smiles across the finish line and that’s what makes it all worthwhile.

“That’s where the sport is going to begin,” Richer said of the more than 100 youth racers out over the weekend.

“It’s awesome to see a five-year-old little kid with training wheels and is full of energy cross that line. They’re so excited to get their medal… it’s just nice to see so many of those kids come out. They are the future of our sport.”

He added that through the six months of planning and the army of volunteers– when the weekend is all said and done, they can’t wait to do it all over again.

“(Saturday) was a bit of a challenge. Mother nature didn’t really cooperate with us. But we got the kids all through safely,” he said.

“It’s very satisfying to see every single athlete cross that line and we want to do it again tomorrow… we’re proud to put on this event.”

Tyler Johnston was the male 30-39 race winner in a time of one hour, five minutes and 53 seconds. He said he loves coming to the Woody’s and it’s really the place where he cut his teeth in the sport. Now, he trains all year-round because of the passion he developed in those early days.

“Four years ago, this was the first time I ever did a triathlon. Since then, I’ve slowly got better and got more of the triathlon bug in me,” said Johnston, who was once a national speed skating team member.

“I like the challenge that swimming and running bring for me. Didn’t do them competitively before… It’s just cool to do these different races. Triathlon is such a cool sport. It’s about living life to the fullest.”

Johnston finished nearly five minutes ahead of the second place competitor, Trevor Clifford who had a time of 1:11:21. Brain Dand was just back in third in 1:11:25.

In the sprint female category, Anna Zimmerman took home the top prize in a time of 1:18:10. April Connolly was second in 1:19:50 and Janine Mills was third with a time of 1:22:43.

Red Deer’s own Owen Pimm, a grade 10 student at Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School ended the day first in the junior male age group. Pimm used to be an avid triathlon athlete, but took a break from the sport the last few years. He said it was nice it finally get back into it, on a course he’s spent a lot of time at.

“I used to do triathlon a few years ago and stopped for a bit. Came back just for fun today. It hurt a lot more than it used to, ” Pimm said with a chuckle.

“I’ve done this race eight times. Definitely good memories. This is where I first started triathlon and a few years ago I was on the Alberta Development team. Went around the province racing and having a lot of fun. Just to come back and do this race, I never got to do the big hill in the Kids of Steel race, that was fun.”

Issac Jordan was the second place junior male and Johnan Ferguson was third. Barbara Kiers was the top junior female, Dawsin McDonald was second and Heather Ritchie finished third.

The Incredibles were the top relay team, with Triple A in second and the Parkland Pathfinders ended up third.

Email sports tips to Byron Hackett

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