Golden girl races triathlon
Like most Torontonians, 2012 Olympic gold medalist Rosie MacLennan has a familiar reason for visiting Banff.
She usually shows up with snowboard in tow, but this week she’s here for her sister’s wedding in the national park.
But unlike most Torontonians, the trampoline athlete entered a triathlon to pass the time.
MacLennan teamed up with Olympic synchronized swimmer Alison McKenny and modern pentathlete Joshua Riker-Fox to win the supersprint team relay at the Subaru Banff Triathlon, last weekend.
MacLennan took the 12 kilometre bike leg, and spent much of the Minnewanka loop admiring the scenery.
“We do a lot of interval training, but this was one of my first bike races. If I do it again, I’d like to train a little bit more,” MacLennan said.
After the race, she took time to meet with other racers and onlookers eager to meet Canada’s new golden girl. She visited Banff Elementary School and took part in kids races before the event.
“It’s pretty cool and a bit surreal. It shows how much people really care across the country,” MacLennan said.
Life has sped up considerably since her win, however, she has no plans to change sports anytime soon.
“I’ve never been a part of something like this. I have huge respect for Simon (Whitfield) and Paula (Findlay) and what they do,” MacLennan said.
Race organizer and triathlon coach Paul Regensburg invited MacLennan to participate, as he continues to increase the profile of the race. After three years of races, he’s now content with the event. Traffic issues have been smoothed out, the bike transition area has moved up on Banff Avenue and more and more world-class athletes are choosing to compete in the race.
This year drew 1,000 competitors and 250 volunteers. That represents 10 per cent growth from last year.
“When you’re building a course out of nothing, it takes time to work things out,” Regensburg said. “We worked hard on this and made a better race. To look down Banff Avenue with the finish, bike transition and Cascade in the background, this is the vision we had of the event. I’ve been to more triathlons than most people and this is world class.”
He believes the race will continue to grow at a slow, sustainable rate, as organizers continue to work with the Town of Banff and Parks Canada to improve the event.
This year’s race also served as the Alberta Provincial Championships and a sprint qualifier for the 2013 world championships in London, England.
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