Three Ironman triathlons in less than 72 hours.
Less than a month after completing her Riding Raw bike ride across Canada, local fitness trainer Wanetta Beal is back home having made history as the first person to ever finish back-to-back-to-back Penticton Ironmans.
When the big annual Ironman race was held in Penticton last Sunday Beal completed the course on the Saturday then did it again on Sunday.
The Ironman is comprised of a 3.8 km swim, 180 km bike and 42.2 km run. A quick tally shows that all told Wanetta swam 11.4 km, biked 540 km and ran 126.6 km.
Global News videographer Travis Lowe drove two hours to interview Wanetta on the side of the road on day three.
“It’s a pretty big deal, but there was nobody around except her and her support crew. She was out there on her own basically… it was pretty insane.
“She’s one persistent Ironwoman,” he chuckled, adding Wanetta didn’t strike him as a typical triathlete, “she seems to be more of an endurance athlete.
“Very nice lady,” he said, paused, then made the point “an absolutely huge human accomplishment to do something like that.”
Registrered massage therapist Pierre Patenaude worked on Wanetta for about four hours all told and was astonished by what he saw.
“What happened is she called me about two weeks ago for some massage therapy treatments saying she wanted to do (the Ironman) twice. That really quite stunned me I mean I’ve done the race as a competitor and you really can’t move the next day.”
No stranger to the sport and to the people that peruse it, Patenaude is a consultant for Ironman Canada and runs the massage tent in Penticton, and made the point that after the race “it’s like Michael Jackson’s Thriller around there; most everyone is like a zombie after finishing an Ironman, but not her, she’s like a 50s housewife all fresh and smiling from ear to ear. Everyone else had only done the one (race) and she she’d done it twice, but she looked like she hadn’t done a thing.
“I told a lot of the pros that I work with (about Wanetta) and they were absolutely stunned,” he said. “They were speechless.
Me, I was utterly astounded — dealing with her I would say was certainly the high point of this year’s Ironman for me.”
And it was shortly after finishing Sunday’s race he says that Wanetta informed him she was thinking about taking a third run at the Ironman the following day.
“I said I think you’re fine,” I think you’re doing it, so she went and did it, and I was so proud of her. My hat’s off to her that’s for sure,” he said, adding “for anyone willing to go so far outside the safety zone and do something so remarkable that benefits so many… what she’s doing is so far outside the comfort zone it’s astounding, and she’s not doing it for herself, she’s doing it for everyone else. She’s altruistic to the point of being able to suffer thorough something that’s inhuman for the betterment of everyone else, and that’s the true meaning of altruism.
“You don’t come across people like that very often,” he said.
When Wanetta crossed the finish line Sunday longtime race announcer Steve King announced she had just finished back-to-back Ironmans and those within earshot all started applauding.
“It was epic… it was unreal,” Wanetta said when The News caught up with her. “I couldn’t believe what I was capable of, really, I felt so good even after doing three I felt like I could have done a fourth, and that’s when someone on my support team said ‘throw her in the van and drug her we’re going home.”
Asked what now and Wanetta laughed and said her husband Grai and her support crew “want to do an intervention and send me to a 10 day silent mediation retreat,” she laughed. “They weren’t kidding.”
Once again she credits her diet of 100 per cent raw vegan food as the fuel that made it all possible.
Part of her motivation was an agreement that if completed, she would be able to offer the Pursuit of Excellence self improvement course to 100 people who don’t have the resources to pay for this “life changing course in personal development.”
Open to anyone ages 18 and up, the course is slated for Oct. 20-23.
To that end Wanetta will be holding an information session for anyone interested in applying on Sept.7 at One on One Fitness at 7 p.m. (2701 Alberni Hwy.)