Out of 1,568 racers, Sylvan Lake’s Tyler Johnston finished in 11th place in the grueling Ironman triathlon competition held in Penticton, BC, with a time of nine hours, 35 minutes and three seconds.
The competition took place on Sunday, Aug. 28 and included swimming, biking and running. The swimming course took place in Lake Okanagan and competitors swam a 3.8-kilometre loop. The biking portion of the event was a 180-kilometre loop through Osoyoos and Keremeos and the running portion stretched 42 kilometres, with an out-and-back section of the Kettle Valley Trail and then a two-loop section in the town of Penticton. Johnston, who competed in the males 40 to 44 age group, finished his swimming portion in one hour, two minutes and 57 seconds, his bike portion in four hours, 58 minutes and two seconds and his running portion in three hours and 28 minutes flat. This put him in second place in his age group and 11th overall.
By comparison, Canadian athlete Jeff Symonds won the Penticton Ironman competition with a total time of eight hours, 38 minutes and three seconds, about an hour faster than Johnston.
For Johnston, who serves as a firefighter in Red Deer, 2022 has been his first year doing Ironman competitions. He has been competing in triathlons for about eight years and doing half-Ironman competitions for about four years.
“I’ve moved up in distances over that time,” Johnston commented, adding that he’s been training year-round for about five years now.
Doing well at the Penticton Ironman competition earned Johnston a spot at the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii in 2023.
As far as the future goes, Johnston said his goal is to get his total time for the competition to under nine hours.
“That would be a goal I would love to achieve,” he said. “At Worlds next year, it would be nice to place in the top five in my age group. I think that’s a good goal to have.”
Johnston’s family was there to cheer him on in Penticton, including his niece, Everly, who even brought her own sign.
In May, Johnston competed in the Ironman World Championship in Utah, where he placed 119th.
Sylvan Laker Scott McDermott also competed in the Penticton Ironman competition, with a total time of 12 hours, 42 minutes and 31 seconds for 433rd place.
McDermott is no stranger to Ironman competitions – this was his fifth time competing in this Penticton event and his eighth Ironman competition. He has also competed in half-Ironmans all over the world and he has competed in Ultraman competitions, which span three days.
“The weather was perfect, the race was perfect, there were no issues,” McDermott said of the competition. “Everything was great, I was just slow.”
McDermott said he went into the race undertrained. With the uncertainty around COVID restrictions and whether or not the race would go ahead, he said he hadn’t started seriously training for the August race until June, when it seemed likely the race would be a go.
Going forward, McDermott said the state of the world and the economy would likely dictate his future races.