News Local

Wasaga Beach Triathlon took place Saturday

By Gisele Winton Sarvis, Special to Postmedia Network

WASAGA BEACH - Frank Howlett was in a class of his own during the 16th annual Wasaga Beach Triathlon Saturday.

The 80-year-old Stayner resident won gold in the 80 plus category of the sprint triathlon. He was the only person in the division.

Organizers tried to give him silver in the 75 to 79 age group, until he told them he'd turned 80.

"Give him another medal," the announcer said, as Howlett was invited back to the podium to stand alone.

Howlett successfully completed the 750-metre swim, 20-kilometre cycle and five-kilometre run. In fact he's been competing in the MultiSport Canada Wasaga Beach Triathlon every year he was healthy enough to do so since 2002.

"It keeps you motivated during the year," he said holding his medal and bag of Ashanti coffee.

To keep in shape for the triathlons, he swims at the Collingwood Centennial pool, bikes on roads around Stayner and runs trails at Blueberry Trails in Wasaga Beach.

He's always been athletic and has been running, cycling and biking for about 50 years.

"You have to do something or you just don't feel good," he said.

He also competed and medaled at the MultiSport Canada triathlon in Gravenhurst in July.

"I like to stay local. We likes these ones because they are so well organized," he said.

In the Olympic triathlon, newcomer Dylan Pust, 19 of Durham won the race with a time of 1:57:31, about four minutes ahead of the second-place finisher.

Pust is a draft legal racer (bicycles) who completed the Wasaga Beach triathlon for the first time.

"It's hard," he said, fully able to talk right after crossing the finish line.

"I started back because I wasn't in the elite wave so I had to chase them down," he said about the 1.5 kilometre swim. It's hard to sight the shore because of the sun and it was wavy."

Pust was more in his element for the 40-kilometre cycle, where he cycled along elite competitor and No. 2 finisher Glen Goush.

"We took turns taking the lead. He was really good," said Pust.

Pust and Goush dismounted their bikes at about the same time, but then Pust took off on the run.

"The first 5K was too fast for me. I kind of blew up on the last 5K," he added.

Gushe crossed the line second in a time of 2:01:06 winning his category, followed by Billy Bostad with a time of 2:01.17, who won his category.

The third person out of the water was Sheila Treleven of Grimsby, who won the women's event with a time of 2:10.25, six minutes ahead of the No. 2 woman Nina Sieh.

It was also Treleven's first time at the Wasaga Beach Triathlon and she was part of the new TriHart team.

"I was happy with the swim. The water was relatively calm because I had heard it's sometimes really wavy," she said.

Treleven added she was more worried about the run because she is overcoming an leg injury and hasn't run 10 kilometres in more than six weeks.

I'm really happy with how I did in the run," she said after crossing the finishing line standing and smiling.

The triathlon also attracted the world duathlon champion Paul Huyer, of Etobicoke.

He placed 28th overall but first in the men's 55-59 age group.

"It was fantastic. Great setting. Great vibe. I loved the spectators and the course was scenic and thankfully it's pretty calm out there today," he said.

Huyer added that he found drivers on the bike course respectful, giving riders space on the road.

About 1,000 athletes took park in the sprint triathlon (600) and the Olympic triathlon (400), said Jason Vurma, operations director and partner in MultiSport Canada, a locally owned company.

He was ecstatic that Saturday brought moderate summer temperatures of about 20 degrees Celsius and sunny but partly cloudy skies for the event.

"People have been very much wanted a bright, sunny day like today as opposed to the doldrums we had in July," he said in the runner's finishing area.

Vurma said the triathlon started in the commercial area of Beach Area 1 in 2002, but moved to the east end of the beach and changed the weekend to second in September.

"We were looking for a little quieter roads but the challenge we ran into was more north-westerly winds and not being able to hold the swim due to safety issues," he said.

Three years ago, the organization worked with the Town of Wasaga Beach to move it back into August and into the commercial area. They have had good weather each time.

There was lots of safety measures on the water with two MultiSport Canada boats, an OPP boat, a medical boat from Odyssey Medical and paid open water lifeguards on paddle boats.

MultiSport Canada is holding nine triathlons across Ontario this summer. The series is sponsored by Sketchers Performance footwear with many smaller, local sponsors at each venue.

The triathlon raised more than $80,000 for the Collingwood General and Marine Hospital’s (CGMH) Surgical Campaign.

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