Canadian triathlon champ Lucy Smith from Sidney rides down the final stretch of road on the bike portion of the pro race of the Sooke Subaru Triathlon last year.

Sooke eyes hosting national triathlon events

The Sooke Subaru Triathalon committee has their sights set on putting Sooke’s scenic vistas on the national sporting map.

The Sooke Subaru Triathalon committee has their sights set on putting Sooke’s scenic vistas on the national sporting map.

Matt Mortensen, Sooke Subaru Triathlon race director, said a representative from Triathlon Canada came to view last year’s triathlon for a bid to host the 2013 national triathlon.

“It went really well and we are very hopeful we’ll get the nationals next year,” Mortensen said.

With last year’s TSN coverage of the Sooke triathlon, Mortensen said the area has garnered national attention, but added the aspirations don’t stop there.

“We’re also investigating this possibility of hosting a world triathlon event. If we have a good track record, and they really like the race, and they really like the venue, there’s a good chance we could host a world championship.”

He said the potential for a world championship in Sooke is high, as the natural venues utilized are incomparable in value. The committee is currently investigating opportunities for 2014 or 2015.

“I can’t think of any race that I’ve ever been in that’s more beautiful than Sooke,” he said.

The event already attracts athletes from 22 different countries, with a total of 570 participants last year.

In order to make the Sooke Subaru Triathlon a “world class event,” and ensure success in 2012, the 22-person Sooke Subaru Triathlon committee is working on road closure efficiencies and rallying support from the community and businesses.

“When competitors come driving into the city and they see ‘Welcome competitors,’ ‘Good luck triathletes,’ it shows the competitors that the community cares,” Mortensen said. “If we show our hospitality then the chances are people are more likely to come back and race over and over again.”

Mortensen said businesses can express their support by simply posting up signs and banners, adding he has a vision of the entire community on the sidelines, cheering, embracing and enjoying the race.

The next Sooke Subaru Triathlon will take place on Aug. 12, with three different events: the sprint (800 m swim, 20 km bike and 5 km run), Olympic distance (1.5 km swim, 40 km bike, and 10 km run), and half Ironman (1.9 km swim, 90 km bike and 21 km run). Each event will have a team entry.

Competitors will begin with a swim at Young’s Lake, then ride their bikes down the West Coast Road and finish with a long distance run along Whiffin Spit.

There will also be a pro-chase event, where women and men will go head-to-head.

Women will be given a head start, and then the men will be released afterwards. The winner will receive $15,000.

For more on the upcoming Subaru Western Triathlon series with races in Shawnigan, Victoria, Vancouver, Sooke and Banff, see triseries.ca.