Stepping into his golden years ahead of schedule, a 39-year-old Squamish retiree managed to place second overall in the Ironman Whistler race this past weekend.
Yes, you read that right – a 39-year-old retiree.
Martin Caron, a Garibaldi Highlands resident, also managed to score second overall in the men’s division and first in the 40-to-44-year-old men’s age group.
“That was a very good day,” he said with a laugh.
Caron bought real estate when he first moved to Squamish about 10 years ago, something that worked out in his favour as prices rose.
Having retired in the last three months, he decided to take a pass on the nursing home, instead opting for a 220-hour training schedule over the last nine weeks.
It was necessary, given that Ironman has a reputation for being one of the most gruelling races worldwide.
“It’s always hard – doesn’t matter how much you train,” said Caron, who’s done the Whistler Ironman five times, including this last competition.
While it isn’t associated with the Marvel superhero franchise that bears a similar name, competitors are forced to exhibit something pretty close to superhuman strength during the race.
The race kicks off with a two-loop, 3.86-kilometre swim. Athletes then hop on their bikes and keep pedalling for 180 kilometres and follow that up with a marathon-length run that spans 42.2 kilometres.
All in all, that’s a total of about 226 kilometres – pretty close to the road distance running from Vancouver to Lillooet, which is about 250 kilometres. It’s a distance that can feel long in your car, let alone for anyone travelling without the aid of an internal combustion engine.
“I don’t qualify myself as the fittest, but I qualify myself as the mastering of the pacing,” said Caron, who’s originally from Saint-Jean-de-Dieu in Quebec.
The results seem to echo his sentiments.
Caron managed to score a time of 59 minutes and 38 seconds during the swim. He cycled through the course in four hours, 52 minutes and 17 seconds. The run took him three hours, 13 minutes and 11 seconds.
His overall time was nine hours, nine minutes and 36 seconds, which was about 10 minutes shy of the man who won first overall, Dylan Gleeson, a competitor from North Vancouver.
The placement in the Whistler Ironman has qualified him for the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii in October.
To get ready for that competition, Caron said he’ll be arriving one month early in order to acclimate his body to the hotter temperatures.
The last time he competed in Kona, he arrived a week ahead of schedule. It wasn’t enough time for him to get used to competing in temperatures that could spike at about 45 degrees celsius.
He’ll also be getting ready for the International Triathlon Union’s Age Group World Championships in Penticton this month. He had previously placed first in his age group in that competition.
Caron, however, wasn’t the only one from Squamish to show off his inner superhero in the Ironman this past weekend.
There were a number of local athletes who managed to land in the top 10 in their divisions.
Jen Segger snagged fifth in the 35-to-39-year-old women’s division. Sarah Greenwood took sixth in the 40-to-44-year-old women’s division. Team Tri-Me took ninth place in the half-Ironman relay, known as the Ironman 70.3.