Large group from Michigan travels to Canada to complete Ironman Triathlon

Large group from Michigan travels to Canada to complete Ironman Triathlon

by Matt Yacoub,

Mont-Tremblant, Quebec, Canada -- On Sunday, August 19, almost 2200 athletes competed in the inaugural Ironman Mont-Tremblant in Quebec. Forty-six Michigan athletes completed the full Ironman triathlon distance event, which consisted of a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride, and a 26.2 mile run. 36 men and 10 women from the Mitten state finished the event under the time cap of 17 hours. About 20 members of the Michigan contingent came from a single club: Infinite Multisport, a triathlon club made up of members from the metro Detroit area.

Located about 1 1/2 hours north of both Ottawa and Montreal, the mountainous terrain and quaint tourist village of Mont-Tremblant make a popular ski resort destination in the winter. In the summertime, its lush rolling landscape and idyllic setting make a perfect venue for a challenging Ironman race.

The bicycle leg of the 140.6 mile event included 6400 vertical feet of climbing to provide a stiff challenge to the competitors. As one of the hilliest races on the Ironman circuit, Mont-Tremblant kept it interesting with a couple of 12% grade climbs. Not to be outdone, the 2-lap marathon run course included about 700 vertical feet of elevation change over the marathon distance. As always, the swim was mercifully flat.

Top Michigan finishers in the race included former Ironman World Championships – Kona qualifier Bryan Sieber, 35, of Royal Oak and Infinite Multisport, and Matt Smith, 38, of Holland. Sieber was the top Michigan finisher and the only one to finish in under 10 hours. At 9:54:37, he placed 61st overall and 14th of 265 in the Male 35-39 age group. Smith, a former Northern Arizona University cross country runner, finished 78th overall in 10:02:07 and 16th of 265 in the Male 35-39 age group.

Not to be outdone by the men, the top Michigan woman, Lori McColl of Troy, 34, finished the grueling race in just over 13 hours (13:00:59). She was 43rd of 87 in the female 30-34 age group.

The weather throughout the morning and early afternoon was beautiful with sun and a slight breeze, but turned dark as most of the competitors were on the run section of the course. To add to the challenge the competitors were facing in the marathon run, intermittent showers passed through, lasting about 2 hours and including a couple of bursts of thunder and lightning.

Despite the weather, Mandy Hetfield of Owosso, who has run multiple sub-4 hour open marathons, had the fastest female marathon run time of the Michigan runners, completing her day with a 26.2 mile run time of 4:36:01. She was just ahead of Jacquelyn Mondani of Royal Oak, who closed the race in 4:52:04. Meanwhile, Matt Smith’s time of 3:35:56 was the fastest men’s marathon split of all the Michigan runners.

The oldest Michigan finishers were David Kurtz of Northville who finished in 14:44:32, good for 20th place among men in the 60-64 age group, and Peggy McLaughlin of Waterford who finished 28th in the women’s 55-59 age group (16:05:29).

With a $25,000 total prize purse, the professional race was hotly contested. The men's winner was Romain Guillaume of France, who used a sizzling 4 ½ hour bike leg to create a 15-minute cushion between him and the chase pack. Guillaume, a first-time Ironman winner, completed the race in 8 hours, 40 minutes, and 48 seconds. Despite his outstanding 2:52:36 split in the run, second place finisher Alejandro Santamaria of Spain was not able to overtake Guillaume.

The women's winner was Jessie Donavan of Vermont, a mother of three young children and a first-year professional, who finished with a 3:11:36 marathon run to take the victory with an overall time of 9:30:46.