I am pleased to share with my visitors this recent Ironstruck interview with Steve King on 2012 Ironman season that saw Ironman Canada in Penticton come to an end and new races being born.
Steve King has been involved with Iron distance racing in Penticton in one form or another since it’s inception in 1983. As the race grew and became part of the Ironman Triathlon family Steve King went from Ironman athlete to one of the most recognized race announcers in the triathlon world.
2012 has been a tumultuous year to say the least with Penticton announcing that after hosting it’s 30th anniversary race on August 26, 2012 it would be parting ways with the WTC family of races.
On August 25, 2013 the city will host the inaugural Penticton Challenge.
It will be the first Challenge race to take place in North America and will coincide with the inaugural Ironman Whistler that will take place on the same day.
Here are Steve’s thoughts on the goings on in the world of triathlon in the 2012 season.
Well Steve, October has been quite a month for the WTC Ironman brand.
First of all, and I guess the topic that is most on the minds of Ironman triathletes across Canada is the selection of Whistler, B.C. as the host of Ironman Canada 2013.
When looking at the short-listed venues of Whistler, Kelowna, and Huntsville before the announcement what were your thoughts on each venue(pro and con) and did you sort of lean toward any of the three as most likely to win?
Steve – All worthy bidders with a history of hosting excellent events and having top flight organisations – I did not ‘lean’ to any and can see why either of them would be selected to host a prestigious race.
If someone had said to you, “Steve, it’s your call. You pick the next venue(of the three) for Ironman Canada,” where would you like to have seen the new Ironman venue?
Steve – Huntsville.
It appears that one of the reasons that Kelowna was not chosen was because of the proximity to the Apple Triathlon and the challenge that may have been presented finding enough volunteers to manage both races. However there is likely much more to it than this.
What do feel some of the other determining factors may have been to make Whistler the top
Steve – Possibly some dissension between the Mayor and supporters and those that presently host the Kelowna Apple Triathlon as well as the community’s concern over stretching their event volunteers even further when they have experienced some difficulty in getting the required numbers for the Apple.
Does the choice of Whistler actually benefit Penticton Challenge as now they have access to the entire volunteer base in the Okanagan Valley? Many people were of the opinion that if you are going to go head-to-head with another race on the same day in August, why not do it from an hour away?
Steve – Possibly, but we also had numerous volunteers from the Lower Mainland and Pacific NorthWest and others who came to sign up for the following year.
In the big scheme of things, do you feel that Whistler might become an Ironman that is more for the affluent triathlete as opposed to those on a tighter financial budget? In other words, will it cost more to be part of Ironman Whistler as opposed to Ironman Canada while it was in Penticton?
Steve – You may find that for some it will depend on having ‘friends’ who live in Whistler (just as Penticton has many host families) and some will no doubt have just overnight stays due to their proximity (Vancouver). Others coming from further afield will likely have to pay more – but it is an awesome destination and gives athletes the choice of two terrific locations.
Do you think that Ironman Whistler will sell out as it seems that many triathletes may have already entered the Challenge race thinking there would no longer be an Ironman in the West?
Steve – I think they will have 2000 to 2500 in Whistler but I’m not sure what they are considering their ceiling (number-wise) to be.
I suppose the ten million dollar question is…If you were approached by both Penticton Challenge and
Ironman Canada in Whistler to be the race announcer on August 25, 2013 how would you respond?
Steve – I have been involved in my home town’s event since it began in 1983 and could not imagine not being involved in some capacity.
Could you envision Huntsville one day having their chance to host a third Ironman race in Canada?
Steve – I think it would be a sensible move to have an Iron-distance event there as Muskoka is such a gorgeous spot for the sport to continue to thrive.
What a great race in the Ironman Hawaii World Championships on Saturday October, 13, 2012!
What are your thoughts on the race and the final outcome?
Steve – Pete Jacobs lived up to his pre-race hype notwithstanding being shy of his 2:40 hoped-for marathon. Leanda showed she is truly a World Champ in all respects, having taken the 70.3 as well. Tremendously enjoyable event to watch online.
Were you surprised that Craig Alexander struggled as much as he did in the race as he was picked by many to repeat as Ironman Champion or do you feel there were indications through-out the season that he was not at his best this year?
Steve – We all have our ‘off days’ but others were truly on in all respects. It should never be a given at these distances and that’s what makes it all so fascinating to see how it unfolds.
Were you surprised that Leanda Cave was able to fend off Mirinda Carfrae who is arguably one of the strongest female runners in the sport?
Steve- Also that she held off Mary Beth Ellis, but major credit also for Caroline as she kept it close and never gave it up – Badmann wasn’t too shabby at 45 yrs old either!
In an earlier interview you stated that Mary Beth Ellis is very talented and could very well win several World Championships one day. What did you think of her performance in Ironman Hawaii 2012?
Steve – I still very much believe that and think hers was a great performance and part of her learning curve.
Ironstruck would like to thank Steve King for doing this interview and I’m sure I speak for thousands of people who took on Ironman Canada over it’s storied 30-year history, “thank you for all you have done for the ordinary athlete who did something extraordinary on Ironman day and best of luck to you as the Iron Distance landscape in Canada enters a new era.”