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Prairie competitor wins Canmore Triathlon

Finishing before driving rain and heavy winds had a chance to slow him down, Curtis Earl took the Olympic distance title at the Canmore Triathlon on July 3 at the Canmore Nordic Centre.
Women’s Olympic distance winner Alison Farkash.
Women’s Olympic distance winner Alison Farkash.

Finishing before driving rain and heavy winds had a chance to slow him down, Curtis Earl took the Olympic distance title at the Canmore Triathlon on July 3 at the Canmore Nordic Centre.

The Saskatchewan native was 11th coming out of the water, but pulled away on the bike, finishing with a time of 2:12:46.4, over four minutes ahead of second-place finisher Martin Struna (2:16:59.5). Douglas Wickware finished third alongside Struna (2:17:00.5).

Earl, a 34-year-old firefighting flatlander, was taken by surprise by the elevation gain, which forced him to slow down his run pace.

“It was a tough course and hard on the hills, a lot different than what I’m used to,” Earl said.

However, he made up time on the bike on his cruise to victory.

“Usually I’m a fast rider and I enjoyed that tough, hilly course. The harder the bike, the better it is for me,” Earl said.

Alison Farkash, 22, of Vermillion, beamed after winning the women’s Olympic distance (1,500 metre swim, 40 km bike and 10 km run) event. The bubbly Albertan finished in a time of 2:20:46.9 to take first place in the women’s category and fourth overall. She preferred the hilly course.

“I’ve been doing a lot of run training and cycle races, and hills are my specialty,” Farkash said.

She’s happy to get a win under her belt leading up to the Canadian national triathlon championships in Kelowna and would like to travel to New Zealand to compete there. She’s busy searching for sponsors and also has a wedding to plan before the end of the month.

Michelle Milot finished second in the women’s Olympic distance at 13th overall. She was using the race as a training piece, as she hopes to compete in the Kona Ironman World Championships.

She found the Olympic distance quite challenging.

“It’s short and hard and all out. In an Ironman, you pace yourself more,” Milot said. “I’m more of a diesel engine and do better on the long distances.”

Local triathlete coach Tom Omstead won the sprint distance (500 m swim, 20 km bike and 5 km run) in a time of 1:13:06.6. The previous week he captured a sprint triathlon title in Ontario.

“I wanted to do a double crown and I guess I did,” he said. “This course is always slower than the average because it’s so hilly, but that’s what makes it so great.”

Omstead trains triathletes in Canmore, so he knew what he was getting into.

“I know it hurts, so I’m not sure if that’s an advantage or a negative, but the key is to keep smiling. Once you get too serious, it doesn’t get fun.”

Jeff Maguire of Calgary finished second in the sprint. It was his first triathlon and he was shocked to finish in the top five after only agreeing to take the challenge on a bet.

“It started 10 months ago on a bet (with fellow newbie triathlete Erin Ruttan, who finished sixth in the women’s sprint). The course was great and I’ll definitely be back again next year, no doubt,” Maguire said.

Both Maguire and Ruttan will compete in an Olympic distance triathlon in Invermere this month.

Alesha Miller was the top female finisher (1:23:17.3) in the sprint, followed by Karen Koenig (1:25:43.0) and Christa Miller (1:30:54.4).

Canmore’s next triathlon is July 24, when the Gaia Women’s Triathlon will begin at the Canmore Rec Centre.

Rocky Mountain Outlook

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