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Athletes face the Challenge in Cowichan triathlon

Cowichan Challenge bigger than ever

Chemainus was overrun with athletes on Sunday, June 30 for the annual Cowichan Challenge. This year, the Challenge offered a standard course, a sprint course, and a full slate of youth race distances for kids 6-15. There was also a standard course aquabike (swim-bike) event.

Athletes started their races with a swim in Fuller Lake before riding their bikes on the back roads between "The Little Town that Did" and Crofton. Then it was onto the trails of North Cowichan's Municipal Forest for the run portions of their races.

Sanctioned by Triathlon BC, this was the third year the Cowichan Challenge was proudly hosted by Human Powered Racing after having taken over the race from long-time hosts the Ceevacs Roadrunners, Cowichan's premier running club.

"We are very excited to build on the legacy and work that Ceevacs had done to establish the race," said Mike Neill head coach of Human Powered Racing. "This year's event has seen a huge increase in participation."

All told, 239 racers registered for the 2024 event.

"As the race director of the Cowichan Challenge Triathlon, I am thrilled to announce that the 2024 event surpassed all expectations," said race director Rob Dibden. "We had a phenomenal turnout and enjoyed perfect weather conditions, creating an ideal setting for inspired racing. Congratulations to the newly crowned 2024 BC Provincial Age Group Champions."

Elias Simpson, Nyula Sajan, Carson Bartley, Jordan Stewart, William Brunelle, Charlee Alleyn, Robert Anderson, Juno Sulek, and Thea McWilliam were all winners in their various youth age groups.

Competing on the standard course, Nanaimo's Jason Basaur was the overall winner with a time of 2:06:30.4.

Ryan Seaman, Madelyn Shipley, Bethany Ricker, Timo Van der Zwan, Johanna Hatzold, Dave Jozsa, Sarah Mills, Garrett Rice, Adrienne Chan, Mimi Poulin, Bruce Yoshida, Marcia Jansen, Brian Zimmerman (Shawnigan Lake), Michael Roth, Pam Stockton, and Paul Sharples won their age group divisions. Chan's time of 2:33:38.8 was the top female time on the standard course.

Brentwood Bay racer Robert Johnson's time of 1:06:15.9 was tops overall in the sprint race, with North Vancouver's Andrea Damiani not far behind, with a time of 1:12:18.6 to lead all women in the sprint.

The sprint course winners in their age categories included Coen McMurray, Zackary Wilensky, Anna Turner, Takuma Cottle, Jasmine Bal, Brooks Sutherland, Chelsea Langelo (Chemainus), Lishan Sharples, Francene Benoit (Shawnigan Lake), Shane Sahota, Trish Laliberte (Ceevacs/Duncan), Shane Pask, Suzanne Chandler, Gord McInnes, Stephanie Brown, Neil Harle, Barbara Polehoykie, Robert Mccosh, Marion Young, Tony Sweet, and Brenda Niziol (Ceevacs/Shawnigan Lake).

Seven racers took on the aquabike event with Whitehorse's Jillian Chown earning the overall win with a time of 1:40:48.4 Graham Wood was second with a time of 1:43:47.0 while Emma Scholfield's time of 1:54:18.2 rounded out the top three. Steve Watt and Wayne Coulson made the top three for the men while Mary Luco was third overall for the women.

Duncan's Rob Grant (sprint 55-59M third; 1:18:21.7), Danna Lyngard (sprint 65-69F third; 1:55:09.9), Lauren Reimer (sprint 60-64F sixth; 1:46:26.1), and Diana Persson of Mill Bay (sprint 55-59F third 1:46:26.1) — all members of the Ceevacs Roadrunners — also competed in the event.

Part of the field of 205 that started but didn't podium were Cowichan Valley racers including but not limited to: from Chemainus: Kelly McManus; from Cobble Hill: Monika Csiszar, and Teresa Lewis-Schneider; from Crofton: Wayne Newman; from Duncan: Dominique Eustace, John Darbyshire, Pamela Darbyshire, Richard Light, Malcolm Blackburn, Laura Patterson, Waverley Patterson, Andrea Akhurst, Laura Muller, Chris Muller, Stefan Klippenstein, Creek Boudreault, Noele Brooke Webster, Kurtis Bosnell, and Sam Henneberry; from Ladysmith: Jennifer Karach, Kim Broere, and Brett MacDonald; and from Shawnigan Lake: Holt Robertson, and Art MacKinnon.

"I extend heartfelt thanks to our sponsors whose support made this event possible, to the dedicated participants who showcased their incredible athleticism, and especially to the volunteers who generously gave their Sunday morning to ensure the smooth running of the race," Dibden said. "Your commitment and enthusiasm truly made this year's triathlon a resounding success.”

Sarah Simpson

About the Author: Sarah Simpson

I started my time with Black Press Media as an intern, before joining the Citizen in the summer of 2004.
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