Canadian couple hoping for yet another strong finish in Ironman 70.3 St. George

Professional triathletes Trevor and Heather Wurtele at Sand Hollow Reservoir, Hurricane, Utah, April 26, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

HURRICANE — More than 2,700 athletes are registered to compete in Saturday’s Ironman 70.3 St. George.

Of those, just 2 percent are professional triathletes, an elite group of 54 competitors from a dozen or so countries.

Among them are the Canadian husband-and-wife team of Trevor and Heather Wurtele, who hail from Vernon, British Columbia.

Professional triathletes Trevor and Heather Wurtele talk about upcoming Ironman 70.3 St. George event while training at Sand Hollow Reservoir, Hurricane, Utah, April 26, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

St. George News recently caught up with team Wurtele near the swim course at Sand Hollow Reservoir, where they shared some thoughts about the upcoming race, which involves a 1.2-mile swim in Sand Hollow Reservoir, followed by a 56-mile bike ride and a 13.1-mile half-marathon run. The event is part of the Ironman North American Pro Championship circuit.

The Wurteles are are no strangers to the St. George Ironman event, having competed in it consistently for the past several years. Heather Wurtele, in fact, is a four-time winner of the St. George race, taking first place in 2010, 2011, 2015 and 2016. She didn’t race last year, but said she is hoping to regain her title this year.

“We came down for the full Ironman in 2010 and had never really even heard of St George or been to the area before but we just kind of fell in love with it,” Heather said.

“We love being here for the race and just the spectacular landscapes here. Something that really appeals to me about (this place) is the mountains and the big vistas here. It is just a great size to train. There are lots of good roads and pools to swim in, and the lake, but it’s not so busy that you’re worried about too many cars on the roads.”

The Wurteles have been staying at an RV park in Hurricane since February, dedicating their time and efforts to the rigorous physical training necessary to compete as top-tier triathletes.

“We usually come down from February until this race in May to get out of the snow and have great place to train,” Heather said. “So we’ve just kept coming back.”

“When you’re training hard, it’s nice to be in one spot,” added Trevor. “You don’t have to move the vehicle. So we just try and set up and stay there for two or three months at a time.”

File photo shows Heather Wurtele after crossing finish line in first place in Ironman 70.3, St. George, Utah, May 7, 2016, | Photo by Kevin Luthy, St. George News

A few weeks ago, on April 8, Trevor said he and Heather went down to Texas and competed in another 70.3-mile triathlon event in Galveston that is also part of the Ironman circuit.

We’ve had a really good solid training block since our last race – four weeks in between races,” Heather said. “We’re pretty tired right now, with two more days of solid sessions and then we start to taper off into the race.”

“We’ve got a big swim here this morning,” Heather said last Thursday just before she and Trevor prepared to don their wetsuits and enter the reservoir. “We’ve got about a 5k (swim) planned in the lake and then we’ll put in an easier ride because we had a hard run on the course yesterday, double-run day.”

“Our full time job is training so we do a lot of it,” she added, noting that they have competed in numerous triathlon events throughout North America and around the world.

The Wurteles said they expect to finish Saturday’s race around the four-hour mark, with Trevor hoping for a time of around 3:55 and Heather expecting to finish about 20 minutes later.

Both said they are hoping for cool and calm weather conditions, as warmer temperatures and gusty winds tend to slow down the athletes..

Heather said she’s cautiously optimistic about a favorable forecast. “It looks like the conditions are going to be pretty perfect, but you never know. It’s best not to count on anything here in St George because it can change.”

“It’s a real strength course,” Heather added. “You just have to be the fastest one, but the whole thing is just challenging and I like that. It’s just all about being strong all day … you really can’t hide any weaknesses on the course here.”

Organizers say of the 2,700 registered participants for Saturday’s race, 733 are from Utah and another 1,750 are from other U.S. states. The remaining 200 or so come from 36 foreign countries. Competitors range in age from 18 to 80.


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