Qualicum Beach Triathlon

550 from age 4 to 72 participate in huge 17th annual event

A pleased Penny Youngash

A pleased Penny Youngash

Sunday’s Qualicum Beach Triathlon turned out to be one for the books, as an event-high 550 participants swam, biked and ran their way to numerous records in a damp but energy-charged event.

Organized by Oceanside’s Tri-Athletics Society, the 17th running of the Quality Foods QBT started at 8 a.m. sharp, and the final runner came in just after noon with the awards ceremony wrapping up around 1:30 p.m.

“Great day,” QBT’s longtime official keeper of the times David Kazakoff said after. “It went very smoothly, especially considering it was a bit damp out there.”

The oldest competitor this year was Parksville’s Sharon Farinha at 72, while the youngest entry honours went to four-year-olds John Emslie and Levi Achtem.

The QBT featured four divisions for individual or team entries: Adult, Youth, Minor, and TinyTri.

The adult division, for those 18 and over, consisted of a 400m swim, 18 km bike and 5 km run. The Youth (12-17) did a 200m swim, 9 km bike and 2.5 km run. The Minors (8-11) had a 100m swim, 4.5 km bike and 1 km run, while the Tiny Tri, for kids aged 4-7, swam one width of the pool then biked and ran a short distance.

First overall on Sunday was Byron Trajan from Nanaimo who led the field at 51 minutes 24 seconds.

Top female on the day was Teresa Tomchak from North Van with a time of 1:03.51.

Parksville provided the top two Oceanside finishers as Jason Hare was the first local to cross the finish line for second overall in his M40-44 category at 59.49, and Jane Waite was the first local woman to finish when she was first over in her F45-49 category at 1:06.38.

Other notable local finishes included the likes of Jasper Edge who finished first in the Youth Male 15-17 category with a time of 36.10, and Abigal Hare who was second in Youth F15-17 at 36.30.

Caitlyn Jimmo from Parksville marked her QBT debut with a first place finish in the F18-24 division with a combined time of 1:06.53.

Qualicum Beach’s Black Eyed Eagles team finished first in the Minor-Mixed 8-9 year old category at 26.53 — Madison Albright did the swim, Cody Henson was on the bike, and Aiaden Campbell was on the run.

QBT stalwart Sandi Reed from Qualicum Beach won her F65-69 category and set a new record with a time of 1:22.35.

And the smile on Penny Youngash’s face as she crossed the finish line to a wall of high-fives sure captured the moment.

Youngash was part of the local team ‘Tri-Ing Not To Act Our Age’, which won the Masters Female category and set a new QBT record with a combined time of 1:11.43. Rounding out the team was swimmer Heidi Bromley, and Nancy Patterson on the bike.

“I love the energy out there,” Kazakoff confirmed, adding “we had more kids out then ever before, and they all seemed to be having a great time.”

Indeed. Those that cheered on the 82 youngsters aged 4-7 that tackled the Tiny Tri were treated to some big smiles and lots of determination.

One of the other highlights of the day he said “was how well the volunteers did their job and how well it all came together.”

All told he says there were some 70 volunteers out on race day helping out, and that “without them it couldn’t happen.”

A great example of sport tourism at work, the QBT continues to be money in the bank, as Kazakoff  estimates that over 60 per cent of the field this year were from out of town, the furthest away from Quebec.

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