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Triathlon News & Notes: Stacked Fields for Canadian Open, Sub7/8 Will Be Back, and More

The news from around the multisport world this week.

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Star-studded start lists for PTO Canadian Open announced 

Kristian Bluumentfelt. Gustav Iden. Lionel Sanders. Daniel Baekkegard. Patrick Lange. Laura Phillip. Taylor Knibb. Skye Moench. Emma Pallant-Browne. Paula Findlay. The names on the men’s and women’s start list of the inaugural PTO Canadian Open set for July 23-24 read like a who’s who of triathlon, with many of the top-ranked athletes in the world set to race at the Edmonton event. “Big events, the best athletes, and larger prize purses bring people to the table. That’s part of what has been the issue in the sport. We’ve been fighting for scraps,” said Sanders, a Canadian, about the event, which offers a $1 million prize purse. “This is the beginning of what can become a bona fide professional circuit comparable to other sports.” The Canada race is the first stop on the PTO Tour, which also includes a race in Dallas, Tex as this September, as well as soon-to-be announced events in Asia and Europe in 2023. 

Watch all the PTO races live on Outside Watch.

Sub7/Sub8 Project will be back (and faster), says Chris McCormack  

While this week’s feature story on the Sub7/Sub8 Project in the New York Times did not offer much new news to anyone who closely followed the June 5 event, it did reveal that it was likely not a one-and-done deal. The piece mentions that race organizers (including two-time Ironman World Champion Chris McCormack) are “aiming to stage an even faster race in 2024 and planning to repeat the Sub7/Sub8 every other year.” McCormack said he is also interested in taking the boundary-breaking approach to other sports, too, and has been talking to winter sports athletes like snowboarders, ice skaters, and cross-country skiers “as part of an exploratory investigation into what’s next.”

RELATED: Yes, Iron-Distance ‘Records’ Were Broken, But Was Sub7/8 A Success?

Jackie Hering named Snowshoe Magazine Person of the Year 

She may be best known for her red-hot triathlon career (including recent wins at Escape From Alcatraz and the North American 70.3 champs), but pro Jackie Hering is as accomplished in snowshoe racing. In fact, Hering, 37, was named Snowshoe Magazine’s Person of the Year for her involvement in the sport, including her current role as the executive director of the United States Snowshoe Association, her founding of a race series near her home in Wisconsin, and her title as snowshoe national champion. According to the statement, Hering, who started racing triathlons around 2008, picked up snowshoe racing in 2012. 

Augusta, Maine waives ban on river swimming for impending 70.3 

After several years of staging a 70.3 in the coastal town of Old Orchard Beach, Ironman has moved its Maine venue to Augusta, about an hour north. And in order for the race to go off as planned on July 31, the town had to waive a decades-old ban on swimming in the Kennebec River, according to local news reports. “A ban on swimming in the Kennebec River, from or adjacent to city properties, has been modified by city officials so competitors in an upcoming triathlon won’t have to break the law to compete in the swimming portion of the race,” the story says, adding that the ban was first put into place in 1986 and reflected both the water quality at the time and the potential danger of the swift current. Notably, the current is one of Ironman’s selling points for the race, as the “1.2-mile downriver swim in the Kennebec River” is highlighted in the race description. 

USAT reveals new racing category for youth athletes, free entry to upcoming events 

In an effort to increase inclusion and equality across the sport, USA Triathlon is offering a dedicated racing category for youth athletes with intellectual impairments. The category will be offered at the Youth & Junior Nationals in West Chester, Ohio at the end of the month and includes a special wave for any athlete with an intellectual impairment—those in the division can race with the assistance of a guide for safety, and will also receive a free USAT youth annual membership. 

In addition, as part of USA Triathlon’s 2022 return to racing youth stimulus package, race entry is free for all 15-19 year-old athletes at the Toyota Legacy Triathlon on July 15-17 in Long Beach, California, and there will be free youth splash & dash events at the USAT Age Group National Championships Aug. 5-7 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Click here for more details. 

Gnarly Nutrition offering grant for inspiring endurance sports groups                               

Applications for the Gnarly Nutrition Fuel for Life Grant are being accepted until July 3. The Utah-based sports nutrition company is offering endurance sports clubs and teams a chance to win up to $12,000 to be used towards an event, increasing membership, making positive social, environmental, or cultural impact in their communities, or purchasing gear for their team. Two winners will be chosen for the grant: The grand prize winners will be awarded $12,000 plus $500 in Gnarly products; and the people’s choice award recipient will receive $3,000. “We hope these resources will help an underserved group kickstart the change they have imagined for their members and communities,” said Gnarly Nutrition CEO Eli Kerr. We’re excited to see all of the great ideas and goals that deserve attention not just from us, but from the greater public.” To apply visit Gnarly’s Grant application page.

Podcast Notes

  • Swiss star Nicola Spirig joins the Triathlete Hour and offers insight into her career, which includes five Olympics and several other major wins, and what she wants to do before retiring at the end of the season. The episode also offers a quick preview of Challenge Roth this Sunday. (MX Endurance also offers a comprehensive take on Roth).
  • TriDot brings on legendary triathlete Mark Allen, who reflects on some of the many epic moments of his time as a pro, including the 1989 “Iron War.”
  • Sports photographer Deborah Castellanos is featured on Ironwomen, where she shares what its like covering endurance sports, including the 2022 Ironman World Championships in St. George and being a woman in this male-dominated field.
  • Pro triathlete Matt Hanson chats with Greg Bennett, during which he talks about his major wins, his other career as a university professor, his coaches Julie Dibens and Matt Botchel, and his training program, among other topics. 

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Video: 4X World Champion Mirinda Carfrae Makes Her Picks for 70.3 Chattanooga

Carfrae and former pro Patrick Mckeon break down the iconic course in Chattanooga, who looks good for the pro women's race, and their predictions for how the day will play out.