Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Duathlon race an experience to remember

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JENNA Wilson and Jacques Marcoux had quite an experience at the 2003 Duathlon World Championships in Affoltern, Switzerland.

The event, which is sponsored by the International Triathlon Union, consists of a five-kilometre run, a 20-K bike ride and another run of 2.5-K. Those are the distances for junior (19 and under) competitors. The senior athletes must compete slightly longer distances.

Marcoux, 19, was first among the three Canadian men who took part in the event. He finished in a time of one hour, 12 minutes and 33 seconds. Wilson, 17, came second among the three Canadian women in a time of 1:32:43. Neither Wilson or Marcoux placed in the top 10 overall in their categories at the event, which was held Aug. 30.

"I had a difficult time with the course. It was very hilly and raining and slippery during the women's race. The roads and parts of the course are very narrow and we had to cycle up a sidewalk (at one point)," says Wilson, a Grade 12 student in the "sports school" program at Vincent Massey Collegiate.

Marcoux maintains that he'd go back to race in Europe anytime.

"They love every sport there, especially cycling and running," says the second-year business student at the University of Manitoba.

"People lined up along the side of the road and wrote encouraging signs on the road with paint. They were cheering on any competitor regardless of nationality. It was awesome."

Gary Pallet, head coach at the National Triathlon Centre in Winnipeg, is pleased with his athletes' results in Switzerland.

"They did really well. The course was very technically difficult. The many steep hills were also challenging. They're great kids," he says, confirming that the weather was uncooperative during the event.

Wilson only began competing in triathlons (swimming, cycling and running) in June of 2002.

"My friend and I were debating which sport, track or triathlon, is better," says Wilson, who used to be a middle distance runner on the provincial track team. "I went out and raced a triathlon and I just got hooked on it."

She notes that the NTC offers many things for athletes, including a sports psychologist, a nutritionist and a strength and conditioning coach.

Marcoux also started out as a long distance runner.

"I had a teacher who encouraged me to do a duathlon in Grade 10. I went out and won my first race at Birds Hill Park. After that I kept on and tried my first triathlon. I couldn't swim well, but I made up for it in the cycle and run," says the graduate of College Louis Riel.

He qualified for the national junior duathlon team by winning a meet in Calgary in July.

"That was my third national competition. My focus is triathlon. This whole next year is devoted to improving my swimming," says Marcoux, who also runs cross-country for the U of M Bisons.

Wilson remarks that she likes duathlon and triathlon equally.

"I like the feeling of happiness you have at the end of a race," she says.

PHOTO MIKE DEAL/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 8, 2003 $sourceSection$sourcePage

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