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Posted: September 4, 2005

Triathlon: First Iron Distance Race for Ottawa

By Lynne Bermel

Ottawa’s Yves Fortin savours his victory at the first-ever Canadian Iron Distance Race. (Photo: Steve Bower/

Ideal weather and Ottawa’s historic Rideau Canal provided the backdrop for the first-ever Canadian iron distance triathlon held on Saturday, September 3rd. While it wasn’t an Ironman race in title (Florida-based World Triathlon Corp owns the Ironman brand), each of the 68 finishers of the tough 3.8kms swim, 180 kms bike and 42 kms run race felt they’d earned the right to the moniker.

Sunny skies greeted the triathletes as they plunged into Mooney’s Bay to start of their day. They soon became very familiar with Colonel Bye Drive, traversing the flat, winding road a steady 12 times. While not embraced by the spectators and volunteers, a mid afternoon rain shower was a welcome respite for the athletes during the 4-loop, 42 kms run course along the Canal’s recreational parkway.

At the end of the day, Ottawa’s Yves Fortin, 44, topped the field to take the overall title in 10 hrs and 20 minutes, 14 minutes ahead of his closest competitor, Clinton Lahanalampi of Naughton, Ontario (10 hrs 34 mins and 16 seconds) while . Ian Wilson of Peterborough was third in 10 hrs 37 mins and 37 seconds.

Women’s winner Caroline Boiselle of Gatineau winning the women’s title . (Photo: Steve Bower/

Caroline Boisselle, a 29-year old fitness instructor from Gatineau, led the entire field off the bike and for awhile, it looked like the inaugural “Canadian” might see a woman cross the finish line first. She slowed to 7th overall in the marathon, but nonetheless, put in a dominant performance to take the women’s title in 10 hrs 49 minutes and 39 seconds. Orlean’s Cheryl Kemp was second in 11 hrs 21 mins and 22 seconds while Dot Martin of Montpelier, Vermont finished third in 11 hrs 39 minutes and 11 seconds..

“We started small this year with the Canadian Iron Distance and hope it will grow, “ said Race Director Christine McKinty of Somersault Promotions. “We know we’ve got to prove ourselves. We had such an overwhelming response from volunteers this first year, including calls from people who wanted to be body markers and wetsuit peelers. I had to tell them that we’re a small race right now. We’re not there yet.”

That said, she hopes the race will grow in popularity as have other Somersault races over the past 16 seasons. “We hope to eventually see the bike course expanding to Sussex Drive and onto the Western Parkway.

Saturday’s races, which attracted a field of 1100 competitors, included the Iron Distance Triathlon, as well as a duathlon, half ironman triathlon, sprint event as well as a “Try a Tri” and relays. For the complete results, visit

Race Director Christine McKinty takes in the Sportstats van between events . (Photo: Steve Bower/

Top 5 Men
10:20:10 Yves, Fortin (Ottawa) 1:06:40 5:47:33 3:25:58
10:34:16 Clinton Lahnalampi,  (Naughton) 1:14:19  5:42:17 3:37:40
10:37:37 Ian Wilson (Peterborough) 1:02:11  5:34:44 4:00:43
10:40:59 , Krystian Laszkowski (Mississauga)53:43 5:46:00 4:01:17
10:42:19 Glenn Robinson (Gatineau)1:08:13 5:50:18 3:43:49

Top 5 Women
10:49:39 Caroline Boisselle (Gatineau)1:10:06  5:26:16  4:13:19
11:21:22 Cheryl Kemp (Orleans)1:02:59  6:11:24 4:07:01  
11:39:11 Dot Martin (MontpelierVT) 1:15:34 6:22:53 4:00:45
12:39:58 Mandy Barwell-Parker (Kanata)1:31:18 6:25:33 4:43:08 
13:06:09 Ann Wagar  (Gaylord MI) 1:30:58 / 7:10:49 /4:24:23  

Lynne Bermel, a former world-ranked pro Ironman competitor, is a senior marketing & PR consultant living in Ottawa. She is also a freelance writer and TV sports show host. You can reach her at:

You can access previous columns by Lynne at: LB_Columns

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