New record for Subaru Half Ironman triathlon at Elk Lake

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More than 1,000 triathletes competed at Elk and Beaver Lake on Sunday (June 16) in the Saunders Subaru Victoria Triathlon.

Calm water and flawless weather conditions greeted the athletes in the early morning for the mass start to the swim at Elk Lake's Hamsterly Beach.

It helped Elliot Holtham of Vancouver set a new course record in the half-Ironman dinstance of three hours, 48 minutes and 41 seconds, better than second-place finisher Andrew Russell by 10 minutes.

It's extra sweet for Holtham, who is now recovered from a serious concussion.

"I had a good swim, pushed the bike to open a gap. This is my first time on the course and I have always wanted to do this race."

Both half-Ironman winners were new to the course, as Karen Thibodeau won the women's half-Ironman with a time of 4:22:38, a follow up to her breakthrough performance in 2012 when she finished second at Ironman Canada.

“This is one of the nicest bike rides and runs I’ve done," Thibodeau said. "The lake trail is such a treat after running on pavement in other races."

Valerie Gonzales of Victoria set a new course record in the women’s Half Iron 65-69 age group – beating out the past record holder by 57 minutes.

Twenty Ironman Canada spots were awarded at Elk Lake with an opportunity for athletes to compete at the brand new, and sold out, course in Whistler.

The next stop for the Series is the inaugural Subaru Saskatoon Triathlon on June 30th featuring a “Pro Chase” and a 60 minute feature by TSN.

Half Iron:
1. Elliot Holtham – Vancouver, BC – 3:48:41
2. Andrew Russell – Sidney, BC – 3:58:32
3. Wade Carlson – Penticton, BC – 4:10:45

1. Karen Thibodeau – Victoria, BC – 4:22:38
2. Sue Huse – Missoula, MT – 4:26:54
3. Gillian Moody – North Vancouver, BC – 4:30:15

Men's Olympic Champion:  Robert Johnson – Chilliwack
Women's Olympic Champion: Cheryl Orlovsky –  North Vancouver
Men's Sprint Champion: Jack Toland – Kirkland, Wash.
Women's Sprint Champion: Chelsea Raymond – Lions Bay, B.C.

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