Dean represents Canada on world stage
St. Albert athlete in New Zealand for the aquathlon and triathlon world championships after winning the City Chase nationals
By: Jeff Hansen
| Posted: Saturday, Oct 13, 2012 06:00 am
James Dean is a fitness fanatic and proud of it.
The St. Albert athlete is in New Zealand representing Canada at the aquathlon and triathlon world championships, less than a month after winning the grueling City Chase National Championships for the fourth time in five race appearances.
“I try not to stick to one sport. I’ve always done a variety of stuff to keep active and keep fit. I like trying new things and it keeps my mind active as well. It adds some variety, keeps things interesting and it keeps me healthy,” Dean told the Gazette in a phone interview Tuesday.
On Wednesday the founder of the St. Albert Physical Therapy & Sports Injury Clinic will swim 750 metres and run five kilometres at the aquathlon championships. Five days later he will compete in the triathlon Olympic distance of the 1,500m swim, 40 km bike and 10 km run.
Dean and his wife, family physician Celine Gannon-Dean, will race in the 35 to 39-age division at the world triathlon event.
In August they survived the 11th annual Canadian Death Race in Grande Cache. In the team event Dean was on the second-place men’s team of five as the third-place overall finishers at 11:38.08 and Celine was part of the 44th best mixed team at 17:01:07 as the 73rd overall finishers.
Last month in the Yukon, Dean and Chris McQuinn of Ottawa, known as Team Mutt, completed the City Chase nationals – a non-stop marathon that is part obstacle course and part scavenger hunt – in a time of 36 hours and 20 minutes.
They finished 80 minutes ahead of Team Vancouver to claim the $10,000 trip to Tanzania, courtesy of Intrepid Travel.
The site for the 2012 City Chase worlds has not been announced.
Dean, 35, took a week off from physical activity after the City Chase nationals before focusing on the aquathlon and triathlon worlds in Auckland.
“I’m starting to get back into it. I’m getting the legs moving again and that fast feeling back,” he said. “We’ve been traveling around New Zealand in a motorhome because we’ve got our three little kids with us, so I started doing some runs a couple of days ago and I’m out for a run this morning.”
It’s the first aquathlon and Olympic-distance triathlon worlds for Dean.
“I’m looking to do the best that I can. I’m going to put it all out on the line, but I’m hoping for a top-10 finish,” said the fourth-fastest half-marathon finisher at 1:24:45 at the 10th annual St. Albert Fall Challenge on Sept. 23.
Dean is coming off his fifth City Chase nationals, which he described as “the most shocking turn of events and most physically challenging ever.”
Billed as the World’s Largest Urban Adventure Series, the City Chase pushes participants to the brink physically and mentally through a series of challenges.
“I’ve found some success in it, so that kind of keeps me coming back,” Dean said. “It’s not a set course and you expect the unexpected. They always throw twists at you. You’ve also got to think outside the box and be willing to adapt. There are many different routes to take and by tinkering and by using your speed and your willingness to adapt and to accept all those challenges, it will get you to the finish line hopefully faster than your competitor.”
Participants also raise money for Right to Play, an international humanitarian organization that provides sport and recreation opportunities to improve health and develop life skills for children and communities in disadvantaged areas of the world.
Nine regional City Chase champions from Edmonton, Calgary, Halifax (2), Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto (2) and Vancouver, as well as the Team Right to Play lottery slot winner, qualified for the 2012 nationals. The regional winners completed 10 of 30 challenges in the downtown core during a six-hour time limit.
Dean and David Quaschnick won the Edmonton event, but in a different twist, Dean and McQuinn found themselves paired together after a paintball elimination duel between the Edmonton and Ottawa teams. By random selection, both teams were picked for the paintball duel.
It marked the first time in the nine-year history of the City Chase a split team won nationals. It was also the first championship in six tries for McQuinn, 32.