Local triathlete qualifies for World Championship in Hawaii

It will be a great challenge for a local athlete when he heads to Hawaii to take on the best in the world.

Triathlete Roger Smith has been running

Triathlete Roger Smith has been running

Golden triathlete Roger Smith is preparing to take on the world in Hawaii next month when he will compete against some of the best off-road multi-sport athletes in the world at the XTERRA Triathlon World Championship.

Smith qualified for the event after finishing second in his age group at the XTERRA Canada National Championship race in Whistler on September 4.

Only the two top finishers in each age group are awarded entry slots for the world championship race.

Smith is an elite age-group athlete who competes in off-road triathlons throughout western Canada.

Smith has been a competitive runner for a number of years but made the decision a few years ago to expand what he was doing.

“When you are running 100 kilometres a week it became boring. I was looking to do more than that,” Smith said.

Qualifying for the World Championship capped a successful year of racing. Smith finished on the podium in all of the events he entered this year.

The 45-year-old athlete has no intentions of slowing down.

“I’m not getting any younger, that’s for sure, but I know I can still go faster. That’s the great thing about triathlon, it allows for your strengths to balance weaknesses,” said Smith. “My strength is my run and I’m able to snatch back a lot of time on the run course. If I can improve my swim times for next year I think I can move into the very top tier of Canadian amateur triathletes.”

With just a short to go before the world championship race, Smith is completing one last block of intense training to peak for the big race.

“This is a big deal. This will be my first time racing in the ocean. That will be interesting because it will be a warm water swim and I won’t have to wear a wet suit. It will be fun and the best in the world will be there on October 23,” Smith  said.

Races consist of a 1.5 kilometre open water swim, a 30-plus kilometre mountain bike ride and a 10-plus kilometre trail run. Off-road triathlon is enjoying rapid growth in popularity as many traditional road triathletes turn to the dirt for a more adventurous race experience. Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong raced in the XTERRA US National Championship recently in Utah. Rumour has it Armstrong will also race at the world championship in Hawaii. The XTERRA World Championship is the final stop on the XTERRA World Tour – a series of more than one hundred qualifying events held internationally. The race field is limited to 550 qualified competitors, including 75 professional athletes, who represent some of the best off-road multisport athletes anywhere.

“This sport requires an ‘all-in’ commitment to do well. Training for three sports is time consuming. My wife is incredibly understanding. Without support from my family, friends and the guys I work with I wouldn’t be able to be compete at this level,” he said.

Smith is sponsored by GU Energy and Crazy Soles Running Store in Invermere.