The endurance race challenges participants both physically and mentally. But what is remarkable is that the oldest athlete, Kevin Farrell, 72, showed no signs of slowing down.
“I take a look at the other people around me, like I look at the kids that are getting ready for the P.E.I. triathlon team, and I see them as an inspiration,” said Farrell. “They work so hard.”
Farrell, from Summerside, continued, “I see the other runners and swimmers who are seriously injured, and watch them come back within a few months and my aches and pains don’t even compare to what they went through, and that’s where I draw my strength from.”
Under clear blue sky, Farrell completed a duathlon – 20-kilometre bike race and 2.5-kilometre sprint to the finish line. He already has his sights set on his next challenge.
Farrell will compete in the duathlon world championships in Penticton, B.C. in August.
“I train six days a week and I have Dave Perry, who I really appreciate, and he comes up twice a week and paces me on my five-kilometre run. I also train in the Cavendish hills on my bike, and go at least twice a week for the minimum of two or three hours,” he explained.
After a long career in the Armed Forces, Farrell is familiar with discipline and hard work.
“I had a physical every six months, so I was fit. Although when I got away from it, I got lazy. And I was a late person going to university, but started running there and just kept it up until my knee started to get bad last May.”
He grinned, “Even though it was a hard run (Sunday), I will still be training (Monday).”
Steve Reeves, from Freetown, was the winner of the men’s standard triathlon. He got hooked into the sport for a very different reason.
“I got into this sport after a friend dared me to do a triathlon in Nova Scotia. At the time I didn’t have any running shoes, so I borrowed from my brother-in-law, and then I rented a bicycle and went over and did it,” he laughed.
Since then, seven years ago, Reeves has participated –and excelled – in triathlons every year.
“We have a super group here in the Summerside area, and we are all great friends and train together. We have a lot of laughs and are all different ages and occupations,” he said.
Donna Johnston, from Montague, was encouraging athletes from the sidelines. She participated in the annual race last year, and inspired two of her friends to compete on Sunday.
Johnston offered some sage advice: “It is a challenging race, but you have to realize that you are in it for yourself and your own race. Unless you are in the upper levels and are racing and competing, you have to keep calm and remember – it’s your race and your race only.”
Marian Grant, organizer of the Tri-Lobster triathlon, said, “We have an aquathlon this year – 750-metre swim and a 10-kilometre bike, but they don’t run. So it gives everyone the opportunity to participate. If they don’t run or don’t swim, they can choose which race to join.”
The proceeds from the triathlon will go towards developing the program across the province.