Family togetherness at Freeze, Wheeze and Breeze event
by Linda Mikolayenko
Fifty-four athletes participated in the 25th annual Freeze, Breeze and Wheeze triathlon in La Ronge Sunday, Aug. 30. Although this was down from 66 last year, organizers were pleased with the turnout considering the upheaval this summer when the community was threatened by forest fires and residents were evacuated.
“We even incorporated flames into the logo on the T-shirts we designed,” said Tonia Logan, manager of community services for the Town of La Ronge. “This was the first year we had a community planning committee and, as a result, we were able to do so much more. We will build on that.”
The efforts of more than 40 volunteers supported the competitors who came from various locations in Saskatchewan, as far away as Regina – and one from Montreal.
While some of the participants entered the triathlon as part of relay teams of two or three, 29 individuals set out to complete the entire course on their own – a 500-metre swim in Lac La Ronge, a 20-kilometre bike ride along Highway 102 from Patterson Park to the parking lot at the Don Allen Trails and a six-kilometre run on the Nemeiben Lake road. Among them were La Ronge residents Kandice Harrington, her daughter, Taylor, and son, Griffin.
At the age of 11, Griffin is already an experienced triathlete. Two years ago, he participated in a family relay, doing the run while his mother swam and his dad, Tom, did the bike ride. Last year, he completed all three components.
“My goal this year was to beat my time last year,” Griffin Harrington declared.
He did have a faster time, even though the course was changed this year to make it longer, Kandice Harrington noted.
For 13-year-old Taylor, this was her first triathlon experience and it got off to a slow start in the water.
“The waves kept hitting me in the face,” she explained.
The choppy lake conditions caught many competitors by surprise.
Kandice Harrington stayed with Taylor for the swim, but once they were out of the water, Taylor got on her bike before her mother and was on her way.
“I was pushing myself on the bike,” Kandice Harrington said.
She soon caught up to Taylor, then surpassed Griffin. She had hoped to make it to the finish line ahead of the other two so she could watch them come in, but Griffin passed her during the run.
As they relaxed at a wind-up barbecue, Kandice Harrington expressed her pride in her family’s accomplishments, particularly pleased Taylor was able to finish the course on her first triathlon. Temperatures around 24C and a smoky haze in the air presented an additional challenge for Griffin who has asthma.
She also credited Stephanie Young and Jeff Irvine as being instrumental in their success.
“Stephanie stayed with Griffin the whole run,” she said. “Jeff stayed with Taylor for part of the bike ride and the run.”