Dear Ironman, please be patient: Victoria, B.C.

Tight deadline limits proposal for those trying to bring Ironman Canada to Victoria

Saanich-based triathlete Magali Tisseyre on the trails of Elk Lake. Tisseyre says Ironman is the next step for Victoria’s triathlon scene.

No one in Greater Victoria needs convincing – the region would love to be the new home of Ironman Canada.

That’s been the consensus since Ironman Canada owners, the World Triathlon Corporation, included Victoria on a list of desired destinations for 2013. Granted, it means putting aside the obvious commitments needed to host a race of Ironman’s magnitude.

“We let WTC know we’re very interested, whether or not we can meet the conditions for the Sept. 24 deadline,” said Hugh MacDonald of SportHost Victoria.

“With such a short timeline there is little we can do but

submit a proposal of the route, and local interest to make it work.”

The world famous long distance triathlon was bumped by Penticton in August, after 30 years, and MacDonald, with help from the Victoria triathlon community, is hoping to beat out Whistler, Vernon, Kelowna, Calgary and other cities that plan to meet the WTC’s proposal deadline of Sept. 24.

MacDonald is spearheading the cause, and has brought plenty of world-class events to Victoria.

With Monday as the proposal deadline, however, there is little more MacDonald can do but gather a lot of handshake agreements from the necessary stakeholders who agree in principle that they will support the race.

“The route is multi-municipal, and it’s critical to have the municipalities on side,” he said.

A lot of factors come into play, from the nitty gritty of who will pay for police and approve road closures, to whether the picturesque stretch of Dallas Road and the Inner Harbour can be factored into the race. There’s also an Ironman expo on the Saturday needing 15,000 square-feet, and a banquet for 2,000 that night. Those would have to be downtown, which is where most of the accommodation would be for the expected 2,500 athletes, plus family, coaches and friends who come with them.

An ideal route for Ironman Canada would likely start with the 3.8 kilometre open water swim in Elk Lake, a 90km bike loop (done twice) through Saanich, the Highlands, Central Saanich, North Saanich, and Sidney, and a 42km run ending at Victoria’s Inner Harbour.

Paul Regensburg of LifeSport, which organizes the Subaru Western Triathlon Series half Ironman race at Elk Lake every June, is exploring different route scenarios, particularly for the bike.

“One route would be a 180-km loop that touched on all of the municipalities and features of the Capital Region District,” he said. “By having one loop, it would allow for a rolling opening behind the last cyclist,  which may be easier on traffic disruptions.”

Regensburg also mentioned the Inner Harbour as a world-class finish for the run, the third and final leg of the race.

“We would utilize Victoria’s incredible commuter trail systems to get there.”

By Ironman rules, the bike can be two loops of 90-km each, which would.

“I haven’t talked to anybody (in Victoria) yet who would be against it,” said Lance Watson, co-owner of LifeSport with Regensburg.

Quebec-raised triathlete Magali Tisseyre, a top-ranked pro, just moved back to Saanich, where she previously lived for a year and half. Last month Tisseyre won the half Ironman at the first Ironman Mont-Tremblant and, as a native of Montreal, she’s seen the impact Ironman is having on Mont-Tremblant.

“They don’t know much about triathlon out there, but as soon as Ironman came to Mont-Tremblant, all of a sudden there was a whole new potential for tourism in the summer,” said the 30-year-old. Mont-Tremblant is committed to being a permanent training location and has repaved 70 per cent of the road course, she added.

Tisseyre was seventh at the world half Ironman championships last month and is nearly ready to do her first full Ironman race, with many more to come.

“Having Ironman would put Victoria on the international map and open it up to the world.”

One question that still looms is why Penticton chose to walk away from Ironman after 30 years and welcome Challenge Penticton instead, for 2013.

Managing director Steve Meckfessel of WTC said meetings with Penticton happened as late as the week of the Aug. 26 race, and that WTC believes it’s not asking for too much from the host municipalities.

“The model that was in Penticton and the model in which we operate is similar and has proven to serve the athletes and host cities well, it’s proven successful,” Meckfessel said. WTC plans to announce the new host by Oct. 13.

Just Posted

Saanich walks the walk on crosswalk after student lobbied for improvements

Elanor Teel approached first Saanich about the intersection in March 2017

Firefighters across the region swing into the giving season

Local firefighter says it’s about whole community

Canadians spent $1.7 billion dollars online in December 2016

Online retail sales accounted for 3.4 per cent of total retail sales

Pedestrian scrambles, underground tunnels and other downtown Victoria quirks

The area around the former Eaton’s Centre had some unique ideas

WATCH: Cyclist doored by pickup truck near Goldstream Avenue traffic circle

The incident was captured by a reader’s dashcam on Friday evening

Victoria axe thrower targets world championships

Former pitcher to compete at World Axe Throwing League Championships in Chicago

POLL: Are you giving to charities over the holiday season?

In the holiday rush, amidst the hustle and bustle to find that… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Dec. 4, 2018

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Boeser scores 3, Pettersson has 5 points as Canucks hammer Blues

Vancouver picks up impressive 6-1 win in St. Louis

Battle over Saanich’s Haro Woods not yet over, says report

Draft management plan calls on Saanich to spend $142,500 to improve area

In Canada, the term ‘nationalism’ doesn’t seem to have a bad rap. Here’s why

Data suggest that Canadians don’t see the concept of nationalism the way people do in the United States

Small quake recorded west of Vancouver Island

No injuries or tsunami warning after 5.4 rumble felt some 400 kilometres from Victoria

B.C. suspends Chinese portion of Asian forestry trade mission due to Huawei arrest

Huawei’s chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou was detained at the request of U.S. in Vancouver

2-year investigations nets $900,000 in refunds for payday loan customers

Consumer Protection BC says selling practices were ‘aggressive and deceptive’

Most Read