ATHLETE PROFILE – LEANNE GISLASON: TODAY IS NOT THE DAY

ATHLETE PROFILE – LEANNE GISLASON: TODAY IS NOT THE DAY

As a child, Leanne Gislason knew a thing or two about not giving up.  Leanne was born with malformed hips and a hearing impairment.  Growing up, she wore braces on her legs, and she could hardly walk, much less run.  She never played sports, and in fact avoided them, preferring isolation over not being able to perform simple athletic tasks that other kids could.

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ATHLETE PROFILE – ERIN ELLIS: WHO NEEDS A COMFORT ZONE?

ATHLETE PROFILE – ERIN ELLIS: WHO NEEDS A COMFORT ZONE?

Erin Ellis joined TriStars when she moved to Vancouver Island in 2016.  She didn’t know anyone on the island, and she figured it was a way to meet like-minded people.  Erin didn’t have a background in triathlon, but she had become interested when a friend completed a sprint tri the previous summer.  She thought it looked like a fun goal, and she began to train herself. 

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Athlete Profile: Shelby MacDonald - A Worlds Class Triathlete

The triathlon world is abuzz at the moment – of course – with the upcoming ITU Multisport World Championships Festival.  The Worlds take place in Penticton this year, providing a unique opportunity for local qualifying athletes.  Not only is there a local sense of pride in participating in the Worlds, it is nearby and more accessible to local athletes. 

A number of TriStars have qualified for Worlds and will participate bearing the Canadian uniform.  One of these athletes is 25-29 Male Age Group athlete Shelby MacDonald.  He is one of seven athletes who will represent Canada in his age group in the long course at Worlds.  On August 27, Shelby will wear the maple leaf and represent Canada competing against some of the best athletes in the world.  Shelby is most looking forward to representing his country.

Shelby qualified for Worlds last summer at Challenge Penticton.  This was a remarkable feat, considering that he didn’t delve into the world of triathlon until 2015.  Shelby started cycling in 2011, competing in his first Gran Fondo.  The next year he began running, competing in a 10km.  He figured that swimming wouldn’t be too hard to add, as he was already doing so well at the other two sports.  Little did he know that swimming would prove to be the most difficult sport for him and provide him with the biggest challenge.  It wasn’t a strong sport for him as a child, and developing swimming skills came to him with practice, not naturally.  Today, Shelby is proud to say that he is a capable swimmer because of a lot of hard work and dedicated practice.

During Challenge Penticton in 2016, Shelby suffered a panic attack because of the mass start.  A familiar and scary story for many triathletes, he was packed into a group and couldn’t find clear water to swim.  About 100m into the swim, he doubted his ability to even finish the swim.  He told himself to swim just to the next buoy and decide if he could go on.  He repeated that throughout the swim, finishing it in a mental victory.  After surviving the swim, Shelby’s bike and run legs went well.  To his surprise, he heard Steve King announce over the loudspeaker that this could be a podium finish.  Shelby thought this was a mistake until the actual ceremony when his name was called.  He placed third in his very tough age group.

Shelby has been training for an Ironman.  He feels like, if anything, he will have overtrained for the race at Worlds.  He worries a bit about injury pulling him from the race, but mostly he just wants to enjoy the experience.  Since starting his triathlon career, Shelby has come to realize that his goal really is to just enjoy the sport.  And what a venue to enjoy it in!

When asked what motivates this highly talented athlete, Shelby says it’s the people around him.  He enjoys seeing people accomplish new feats, like their first open water swim or long ride.  He is inspired when people move outside of their comfort zones to better themselves.  He enjoys seeing people accomplish something they didn’t think they could.

Shelby’s list of mentors is incredibly long.  It includes many people from the TriStars family like Chris Siver, Merv Child, Saskia Bjornson, Christopher Mavrikos, and Kathryn Deegan.  He lists qualities in them like humour, determination, kindness, patience, and persistence.  The wonderful thing about his mentors is that the qualities he lists move beyond the sport.  He admires these qualities in their ability to help each other and the community.

What’s next for Shelby?  After Worlds, Shelby will leave his trade of carpentry to return to school.  He will also continue to train for an Ironman.  We wish Shelby the best of luck on both fronts.  Thanks for representing TriStars at Worlds!

Athlete Profile - Garth Fuller: Like a Fine Wine

Athlete Profile - Garth Fuller: Like a Fine Wine

If you know Garth Fuller personally, you know that he is a fit top age group athlete.  What you may not know is that Garth did not complete his first triathlon until he was in his 60s.  He has placed first in his age group in several distances – from sprint to Half Ironman.  He nearly always finishes in the top three in his age group, including for Ironman Whistler.  

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Athlete Profile - Ryan Day: A Family Affair

Athlete Profile - Ryan Day: A Family Affair

For Ryan Day, becoming a triathlete was a natural progression.  A decade ago, in Ryan’s early 20s, his dad switched from running to triathlons.  Ryan was an avid supporter, including watching his dad and stepmother take part in the Ironman the last year it was held in Penticton.  It was this that motivated Ryan to being more physical activity.

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