Duathlon coming to Morinville

By Stephen Dafoe

Morinville – Easter weekend will see the return of the Iron Warriors Foundation for their second annual fundraising duathlon in Morinville. The Ice Breaker Duathlon will take place Apr. 23 at the Ray McDonald Sport Centre, combining two 2.5-kilometre runs bookending a 15-km bike ride.

But while the event splits the physical activity between two forms of athletic endeavour, the Iron Warriors will also be splitting the proceeds in two directions. Organizer and Iron Warrior co-founder Todd Smart said this year’s Ice Breaker Duathlon would split the monies raised in Morinville between the organization’s chosen charity – cancer research – and helping to fund paratriathletes get to competitions.

“What people don’t realize is with paratriathlon you have someone that’s in a wheelchair that not only has their wheelchair they need to get around in; they have their bike chair and their other race chair,” smart said. “They’re essentially travelling with three chairs which is a lot of luggage. It’s expensive to travel with them.”

Smart said paratriathletes are high level athletes that are often unable to compete at larger events due to the prohibitive costs of travel. The organizer said proceeds from the Morinville event will be split 50/50 between helping paratriathletes and funding cancer research.

The Iron warriors are hoping to raise a total of $50,000 for cancer research between the Morinville event and two subsequent events to be held in Edmonton over the summer.

Although the inaugural Morinville event was a success, Smart said a lack of marketing within the community in 2010 resulted in no Morinville participants. The foundation is looking to change that this year and is hoping Morinvillians will come out to participate, particularly since the event is intended as a fun, family-friendly event that is not as arduous as it would seem, either physically or financially.

Smart said registration for the event is $60 and that the duathlon is far from the image people may have seen in the big Iron Man competitions on TV.

“From the outside looking in it looks a lot more intimidating than it is,” Smart said. “When people hear the word triathlon, automatically the vision of Iron Man pops in their head, watching Iron Man world championships from Hawaii where guys are collapsing along the course, and they market that – that it’s so difficult.”

Smart said for the person that vision can cause difficulties for people that want to get started with a small event like the Ice Breaker Duathlon. However, all the Iron warrior events are sprint distance and below, making them accessible to newcomers to the sport.

“It’s a great way to get started,” he said. “If you can run five kilometres, you can do an Iron Warrior event. All of them are in safe environments at the lower distances. We basically want to create a fun family event that raises awareness of Iron Warrior, that brings money to cancer [research] and paratriathletes, and at the same time everyone who comes to the event has a great day.”

The Iron Warriors Ice Breaker Duathlon starts at 11 a.m. on Apr. 23 with participants doing a 2.5-km run through the residential areas surrounding the arena and spray park. The opening run is followed by a 15-km bike ride up Highway 642, turning around 7.5 km from Morinville. The physical portion of the event will conclude with another 2.5-km run through the same area around the arena. A pancake breakfast will follow.

For more information or to register for the event, visit www.ironwarrior.ca.

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