Dean sprints to triathlon win
Fastest finisher at 24th annual St. Albert Triathlon
By: Jeff Hansen
| Posted: Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 06:00 am
Winning the St. Albert Triathlon was a major milestone for Matt Dean.
The 24-year-old reached the top of the podium for the first time in his competitive career with a time of one hour and 15 seconds in the 750-metre swim, 20-kilometre bike and five-km run in Sunday’s sprint distance race.
“It’s cool. I’ve done triathlons for a while so it feels really good,” Dean told the Gazette after posing for pictures with supporters at the finish line. “I haven't won a race before so this is my biggest accomplishment so far.”
The Edmonton Triathlon Academy athlete was striving to surpass his 59-minute showing at the St. Albert Kids of Steel in June.
“My goal time-wise was to break an hour, which I’ve only done once in another race,” Dean said. “Performance-wise it was to go hard, do my best and kind of race the people in my club because we’re more competitive. We started out the same time so that pushed me for sure.”
The Brown brothers, Thomas and Mark of St. Albert, placed second and third at 1:01:03 and 1:01:43, respectively, behind their teammate.
Mark and Thomas finished ahead of Dean at the Kids of Steel at 55:42 and 55:50, respectively, in the U23 elite race.
“Training with the Edmonton Triathlon Academy you’ve got that intensity and people to push me,” Dean said.
At the 24th annual St. Albert Triathlon, Dean was the fourth-fastest swimmer in the Fountain Park Recreation Centre pool at 10:18, but was the quickest biker at 31:24.
“There were some ahead of me on the swim so I had to catch a few on the bike and then I had the lead,” Dean said. “I knew my run was pretty good. I just wanted to keep the lead and I kept looking back a few times just to make sure.”
The run through the Braeside ravine tested Dean's mettle.
“The run course is really hilly so it’s really hard. After going up a hill I just lost my breath so I slowed the pace down to keep going over the hills hard and to go through it knowing it’s a sprint distance,” he said. “I’m used to the Olympic distance so knowing it’s a sprint made me think it’s almost over; it’s just a five K run instead of 10.
“All three disciplines are just shorter so I just kind of upped the pace of it compared to what I do in the Olympic distance and try and keep it all that way to the finish.”
The Olympic distance is Dean’s favourite race and the sprint is a close second.
“I really like the sprint. The half Ironman is fun to do too but it’s a little long for me right now so I enjoyed today. It’s a bit shorter,” said the St. Francis Xavier High School alumnus.
Dean is following in the path of his brother, James, Sunday’s race director for the St. Albert Road Runners and Triathlon Club sponsored event. James is a noted adventurist and endurance competitor – Death Race team medallist and 2012 winner of the grueling City Chase National Championships for the fourth time in five race appearances – who competed for Canada at the ITU aquathlon and triathlon world championships last year in New Zealand.
“He pushes me. He is a cyclist too and is kind of focusing on the bike. He does longer course races since he is older. I did a half Ironman with him this year in Oliver and that was a good time,” said Dean, the eight-place finisher at the Oliver Half Iron in 4:39:26, compared to James’ 21st place 4:54:07 effort.
Dean’s long-range goal is to race internationally for Canada.
“I’m kind of stepping into that now. I’m working my way up there,” said the University of Alberta graduate.
Sunday he was among 198 finishers (85 males and 113 females) in the sprint distance. There were also 38 finishers (16 males and 22 females) in the try a tri, consisting of a 250m swim, 10-km bike and 2.5-km run. Nine sprint teams also went the distance.
Last year 182 competitors finished the sprint race and 42 completed the try-a-tri. Eight teams also participated in the sprint relay.
The 2012 champion was Kris Loshack of the Edmonton Triathlon Academy in 56 minutes and 13 seconds.
“I’m really excited to see how many new triathletes are out here this year and they’re finishing the race,” James said. “In talking to people at the finish line they’re happy and they had a good race. It really seems like everything has gone pretty smooth. People are having a good time. Everyone has been safe and that’s good.”
A new route for the run made the last leg towards the finish line a daunting task.
“We used to run a big square and that was nice but this year we used Braeside ravine and that means less volunteers and shade on a super hot day. It’s nice and cool in there,” James said. “It’s a little bit tougher because it’s up and down but in talking to some of the runners they loved it so it looks like we’re going to keep it for next year.”
Planning is already underway for the triathlon’s 25th anniversary celebration.
“Next year will be a big one. We’re going to soup it up even more than this year so make sure you sign up early,” James said.
FAST TIMES: The fastest female in the sprint distance was Alexandra Gordichuk of Edmonton, this year’s St. Albert 10-Mile Road Race female champion, at 1:06:44 for sixth place overall.
The male age-group winners from St. Albert and Sturgeon County were Shae Kelly in U19 (1:13:10, 24th overall), Thomas Brown in 20 to 24 (1:01:03, second overall), Mike Gerenscer in 45 to 49 (1:09:26, 11th overall), David Livingstone in 50 to 54 (1:08:29, 10th overall), Domenic Antoniolli in 55 to 59 (1:18:51, 36th overall), Larry Webb in 60 to 64 (1:15:03, 29th overall), John O’Kelly, 65 to 69 (1:39:16, 142nd overall) and Richard Roberts in 70-plus (1:39:35, 144th overall).
The female age-group winners from St. Albert and Sturgeon County included Lisa Ulrich in 30 to 34 (1:07:25, eighth overall), Tari Kelly in 40 to 44 (1:16:41, 33rd overall), Elaine Groenenboom in 45 to 49 (1:28:28, 86th overall), Wietske Eikelenboom in 50 to 54 (1:09:56, 12th overall), Helmi McHenry in 55 to 59 (1:24:25, 58th overall), Liz Timleck in 60 to 64 (1:40:04, 146th overall) and Catherine Roberts in 65 to 69 (1:35:08, 119th overall).
The top female and male finishers in the try a tri were Darylann Hutchings (35:05, first overall) and David Robinson (42:46, second overall).
Visit www.resultscanada.com for complete results.