Ironman racers finish worlds
Marc Meunier and Jennifer St. Pierre of St. Albert go the distance at 35th annual Ironman World Championships
By: Jeff Hansen
| Posted: Saturday, Oct 19, 2013 06:00 am
Personal best times at worlds were the order of finish for Ironman competitors Marc Meunier and Jennifer St. Pierre of St. Albert.
Meunier, 40, completed the gruelling 3.86-kilometre swim, 180.25-km bike and 42.2-km run in nine hours, 40 minutes and seven seconds last Saturday at the 35th annual Ironman worlds in Kona, Hawaii.
“I went in there hoping for a 9:45 so in that heat and those conditions that was a fantastic time. I couldn’t have been happier,” said the Paul Kane High School athletic director.
St. Pierre, 34, went the distance with a clocking of 11:22:14.
“I’m happy with the time given how I felt on the day,” said the occupational therapist with Alberta Health Services. “I was tired. I didn't feel spectacular.”
Crossing the finish was extra special for the mother of three, including four-year-old twins.
“When you turn the corner and you see all the flags and the crowd and the lights it’s pretty special,” St. Pierre said. “It’s the first time I’ve ever actually raised my arms at the finish line. Usually I’m so out of it or tired that I don't take the time to do that. It was well worth it. It’s an amazing experience.”
At the 2008 worlds Meunier was the 10th fastest Canadian male at 9:54:03 to place 53rd in the 35 to 39 age division.
The two-time winner of the Leading Edge RunWild Marathon in St. Albert was the 11th Canadian finisher in his second crack at worlds.
He placed 56th in the 40 to 44 age division as the second-best Canadian for 376th overall and was 351st among males.
“It was a different satisfaction this time around,” Meunier said. “The first time I was just happy to be there and I was happy to be done, but this time I was really going for a good time. I knew the course, I knew the conditions and I knew where my fitness levels were at so I was really happy with the outcome.”
Meunier also chopped nine minutes off his qualifying time of 9:49:19 at the 31st annual Ironman Canada on Aug. 25 in Whistler. He placed eighth in his age division for 50th place overall.
“I find I recover very well from races and I figured that six weeks was fine (between Ironman Canada and worlds). It doesn’t really give you a chance to lose any fitness. If you’re recovering well you’re fine and you will do well so it was good to kind of eliminate those myths that you can’t race well within six weeks of another Ironman,” Meunier said.
At worlds, Meunier went 1:04:36 in the swim, 5:24:28 on the bike and 3:03:58 in the run.
“Since I was there in ’08 it’s just become so much more competitive. Everyone seems so much more faster in all the disciplines. In the swim I could just feel how quick it was right off the bat,” Meunier said. “My swim was fine. I was in the main pack but when I got on the bike you could really see the difference with guys that are riding 12 months of the year outside and I found the bike splits to be super fast this year. I didn’t push my bike and I was actually quite conservative because I really wanted to push the run so I felt really good coming off the bike but the split was fairly average.
“When I got to the run it was by far my best run I’ve ever had in an Ironman so that put me right up there overall in the whole race in terms of runs split. It was kind of nice when I beat a lot of the pros in my run split or just off the mark with them.”
St. Pierre was competing in her first worlds since 2003, when she finished 10th in the U19 division at 12:09:41 after placing first in her Ironman Canada age group at 11:28:13.
At Ironman Coeur D’Alene on June 29 in Idaho she posted a personal-best 10:51:58 to grab the second of two world qualifier spots in her age division.
Her times at worlds were 1:14:21 in the swim, 6:01:10 on the bike and 3:57:17 in the run.
“I often don't meet my swim goals so I was quite happy to come out of the water in the time I was hoping to do,” St. Pierre said. “I wasn't feeling really great on the run so I’m happy that I gutted through it and was still able to come in a respectable time.
“There was a real tough headwind at the end of the bike and that might have tired me out. I didn't find it hot but it was quite hot on the bike so that could've tired me out too.”
St. Pierre was the 21st Canadian female finisher at worlds for 60th place in her age division. She placed 1,344th overall and was 281st among females.
“To top this is going to be hard,” said St. Pierre, who will now focus on the 2014 Great White North Half-Ironman. “I’m thinking in 10 years again maybe I’ll try it but right now it’s too time consuming with the kids. I just can’t do it year in and year out. It’s a lot of effort, a lot of money and a lot time away from the family.”
After the grind of Ironman training, Meunier is already preparing for the fourth annual RunWild Marathon in May and the 2014 ITU World Triathlon Age Group Championships in September at Edmonton.