Oliver Half Iron competitor praises volunteers

Oliver Half Iron competitor praises volunteers


I must say right off the bat, I have never been in an event (the 10th annual Oliver Half Ironman on June 2) where the volunteers were so personable, supportive and encouraging.

Oliver people that were involved can take great pride in providing the spirit and energy these events need to be successful and rewarding.

My wife Shirley and I spent the Friday night and Saturday morning swimming in Tucelnuit Lake getting ready for the Sunday open water swim.

In most pools you can’t swim in wet suits so getting in the water before the race helps relieve some of the anxiety of being squeezed into a tight suit. Plus swimming in open water is very different than a pool where you can see the line on the bottom to keep you going straight. In a lake it’s black below so you have to know how to “sight’ while stroking to stay in a straight line. The water is so clean and pretty warm to boot, so swimming here is quite enjoyable just like 40 years ago when I was a teenager.

We later cycled a portion of the route along Black Sage Road enjoying the incredible view.

Mother made us this amazing spaghetti Saturday night as it’s suggested to carb-load for added energy. Her famous peach pie rounded out the evening.

It’s always very nerve-racking being around a lot of people getting ready to do the swim on race day. For me, it’s making sure I’m breathing in sequence to my pace and thankfully this time it was working. I made better time than my last event in the swim so was very happy about that.

Triathlon is pretty new for me so I’m still getting the little details worked out to better perform in each discipline.

Once out of the water, through the transition area to the bike racks, I quickly dried off, changed into my biking gear and took off. My tri-bike is very fast and I was quickly sailing along through the bike course at a better than average pace. This actually became a detriment to me as I gunned it too hard and burned up my leg power too much. This affected my performance on the run course as I had no way of flushing the lactic acid buildup in my legs. Another lesson learned to pace myself through all three disciplines.

I’m a stronger cyclist than runner and thought I could make up time that way but it ended up backfiring on me. My run took much longer than I thought it would. Chalk another one down in the learning curve.

Running along the river and on the hike and bike trail was a real treat. Brought back many memories of floating down the river and cooling off on those hot summer days.

Crossing the finish line I was greeted by my dear mother and sister Karen, having finished her work in the bike transition area.

Getting that finisher medal put around my neck was a great moment for me. At almost 55 years old, though very tired and sore as I write this, I am pretty satisfied inside to have undertook this challenge and completed it. Months of training and preparation gave me the support to finish.

It was a wonderful experience coming home to participate in the Oliver Half. Again, I can’t say enough towards the hospitality of the town and residents.

Thank you so much for making this a great time for my wife, myself and the rest of the participants. I’m sure I can speak on behalf of this group that invades your community each year, that the Half Ironman is one of the sweetest events going in Canada.

Mark Walsh

Special to the Chronicle



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