Nelson's Denise Uhrynuk

Nelson woman takes on triathlon world championships

Denise Uhrynuk will represent Team Canada at the World Triathlon Championship in Auckland, New Zealand on October 22.

A Nelson triathlete will represent Team Canada at the World Triathlon Championship in Auckland, New Zealand in October.

Denise Uhrynuk, 47, was offered a spot in the championship after finishing in the Top 10 of the 45-49 women’s category at last year’s Kelowna Apple triathlon, which was the Canadian qualifying race for worlds. She was fourth in her category at Kelowna.

“I did pretty good, considering I didn’t have a coach,”  recalled Uhrynuk, who works at a physiotherapist at Kootenay Lake Hospital.

In fact, she’s never had a coach before this year when, in light of being on Team Canada, she decided to sign up for online coaching. She started training for her Olympic distance event — 1.5 kilometre swim, 40 km bike and 10 km run — in March.

Unfortunately she injured her hip in a bike accident — her first crash ever — at the Christina Lake triathlon in June. She’s been holding back on her running all season to allow it to heal.

“It’s a lot better now,” she said. “I feel it when I run, but I think I’ll still be able to go full speed for the championships.”

Uhrynuk’s goal is to finish in the top half of her age category with a time under 2 hours and 30 minutes.

She’s competed in five triathlons this year to prepare herself, including the Nelson Cyswog where she was the fourth woman to finish the Olympic course overall (she was holding back, remember) and the Vancouver triathlon where she raced in ocean water for the first time (the Auckland course is in the ocean).

Uhrynuk will race on October 22. The day before her event, there’s a race for elite athletes, which she’s looking forward to watching.

“For the elite athletes who compete in the Olympics, it’s a totally different race,” she said. “They’re allowed to draft off each other on the bikes, which isn’t allowed for amateurs. So the real race doesn’t start until they hit the run.”

Besides Uhrynuk, there are two other women from the Kootenays competing in Auckland. Barb Shield of Rossland will race in the women’s 50-54 sprint and Evangeline Gifford of Trail is in the women’s 20-24 olympic distance event.

They results will be available at auckland.triathlon.org.

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