Charles at it again in Waskesiu

Andrew Schopp
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Battling intense waves and cool temperatures to start the race, 165 individuals and 45 teams competed in the 2014 Frank Dunn Triathlon on Sunday in Waskesiu.

Emulating her mother Dulcie, Prince Albert triathlete Christina Charles took home the event's female title for a second-straight year with a total time of 3:07:57 in the race, which included a 1,500-metre swim, 62-km bike and a 13-km run.

The event's male title also failed to change hands on Sunday as Saskatoon dentist Tim Pierce won the race for a second consecutive year with a time of 2:51:59 followed by fellow Bridge City product Curtis Earl at 2:54:34.

Now the second in her family to win two straight Frank Dunn titles, Charles said her full year of intense training paid off on Sunday in the heart of the scenic Prince Albert National Park.

"It feels amazing," the second-year Masters of physical therapy student said of emulating her mother's two-straight wins in 1984 and 1985. "I got the lead on the bike and just held it. The race just fell into place and my run was excellent."

Charles did the swim in 23:31, the bike in 1:53:16 and the run in 51:11 as she finished the race in seventh place behind Saskatoon's Shayne Burwell.

Temperatures in Waskesiu were cool Sunday morning, making for brisk waters.

Wearing a wet suit for the swim, Charles explained how it wasn't the chilly water that did her in, but rather the lake's aggressive waves.  

"I'm not a big fan of the waves," she said. "You get a little nauseous coming out of the water, but you just deal with it. Toughness comes through today."

Overall winner Pierce concurred.

"This year the swim was definitely tougher because of the waves," Pierce said. "I came out of the water more tired and it took a lot longer to recover on the bike."

Pierce completed the swim in 25:41, the bike in 1:36:29 and the run in 49:40 for a total time just over a minute slower than last year's result of 2:50:25.

Sunday's race was the 33rd edition of the Frank Dunn Triathlon as race director and Prince Albert product Mark Nagy wrapped up his 24th year of organizing the popular event.

With triathletes from across the country travelling to Saskatchewan for the Frank Dunn, Nagy said it's the beautiful scenery of Prince Albert National Park that keeps them coming back for more.

"It's a beautiful place for a triathlon," Nagy said. "The water's clean, clear and the roads are scenic."

As several competitors pointed to the intense waves as the race's toughest element,  Nagy was impressed with the athletes' ability to overcome the obstacle.

"The start was pretty rough," he said. "People looked like they were in a fight with Muhammad Ali as they were staggering out (of the water). But overall the weather co-operated ."

Other notable Prince Albert performances on Sunday included a trio of team results as both Team Young Bloods and Team Fae finished with a time of 3:11:13 while The Millsbillies finished at 3:17:06.

Shortly after completing her ninth Frank Dunn race, Charles said she hopes to be back next year, where she'll look for a third-straight women's title.

"That's the plan right now," she said. "It's pretty special winning it in 2013 and 2014, so fingers crossed."

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