Chinook Triathlon Festival makes successful first stop in Sylvan

The Chinook Triathlon Festival made its mark in Sylvan Lake on Saturday with around 225 athletes having competed in its various events.

Heather Wurtele celebrates crossing the finish line at the Chinook Triathlon Festival on Saturday.

The Chinook Triathlon Festival made its mark in Sylvan Lake on Saturday with around 225 athletes having competed in its various events.

This year marked the first time the race has been held in Sylvan Lake, and although relocating it from Calgary came with some challenges, it proved successful in the end, according to race director Jordan Bryden.

“We’ve done our race in Calgary for 10 years, and (this year) we knew we would lose numbers, but we didn’t lose too many, and we were able to build a really successful event with that many people,” he said. “It was a great day.”

The goal for future years, he said, is to grow the race to include 1,000 participants competing for a $50,000 prize purse. He sees no reason why it can’t become a regular go-to event for some of the country’s top triathletes.

“We want it to be what we call the Wildflower of the North, and the Wildflower race is a very well developed race in California.”

With Sylvan Lake being halfway between Calgary and Edmonton — cities from which many of the race’s athletes hail — the town provides an ideal spot for such an event, he added.

“Sylvan Lake is perfect, and is probably one of the best lake communities in the province,” he said. “It’s open, it’s wide, but it’s also halfway between Calgary and Edmonton, so going forward we want to be able to prosper from both those cities.”

Saturday’s winners, as per the Chinook Triathlon Festival’s website, are as follows: Half Iron Women – Julie Anderson; Half Iron Men – Peter Kornelsen; Pro – Heather Wurtele (Women); Olympic Men – Francois Coetzer; Olympic Women – Margie Richie; Team – Phillip Baird; Aquabike Men – Kevin Mertz; Aquabike Women – Rita McNulty.

A full list of results and times is available online at www.chinooktriathlon.ca.