Participants ready for Ironman challenge

Melissa Berrisford knows a thing or two about triathlons. The Summerland resident currently serves as head coach of the TriPower Triathlon Club, founded in 2009.

Melissa Berrisford knows a thing or two about triathlons.

The Summerland resident currently serves as head coach of the TriPower Triathlon Club, founded in 2009.

In that capacity, she has helped countless adults and children prepare and complete their first triathlon, no small feat by any measure.

But even an experienced triathlete like Berrisford knows that this Sunday’s Subaru Ironman Canada is a different challenge altogether, one that requires a certain humility and perspective, for this Sunday’s race will be her first genuine attempt at completing the gruelling race and its three legs — a 3.8-kilometre swim, a 180-kilometre bike ride and a full, 42-kilometre marathon.

Berrisford’s goals for the race appear at least on the surface modest.

“The goal is cross the finish line,” she said. “It’s about enjoying the day and enjoying it as much as I can.”

But Sunday’s race it is also fulfilling a long-held ambition for the 42-year-old mother of an 11-year-old daughter and two eight-year-old twin boys.

“It is something that I wanted to do since I was 15,” said Berrisford, who over the years has competed in sprint, Olympic-length and half-Ironmans triathlons.

It appeared as if this long-held ambition would become a reality in 2005, when she and her father Fred McLennan had signed up for that year’s race. But a flare-up of lupus, an autoimmune disease that sees body mistakenly attack healthy tissues leading long-term chronic inflammation of joints, prevented Berrisford from taking to the start line.

But she never gave up on the ambition and is now poised to participate along aside her 68-year-old father, who has completed two Ironman Canada, according to official results.

Sunday’s race will also be a family affairs in other ways.

Berrisford’s husband Mike is an assistant coach with TriPower Triathlon Club, and all of the couple’s three children are triathletes as well.

This family passion will be of practical benefit for Berrisford on the course.

“My husband and my kids are definitely my support team out there,” she said.

Berrisford will also receive support from her extended family, with several members set to fly in on the occasion of Berrisford’s start.

According to race officials, three other Summerland residents are slated to start Sunday’s competition. They are Peter Cambridge, Sophia Chadwick and Andrei Ionescu. Several attempts to contact these individuals failed.

The event has 3,240 athletes registered.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Historical society working to preserve cabin and rename roundabouts in Summerland

Summerland branch of society has taken on duties for former Heritage Advisory Commission

Purchase of Francophone school brings with it “sense of belonging” say parents

École Entre-lacs now has a permanent home in Penticton thanks to the provincial government

Abandoned boats left to freeze on Okanagan Lake cause chaos

Over the last week weather conditions have caused three separate incidents

UPDATE: Jack-knifed semi closes Coquihalla northbound

A red liquid is reportedly spilled down the side of Highway 5

COLUMN: Pre-clearance changes at Canadian airports

Some believe these expanded powers may be contrary to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

VIDEO: WHO says China virus not global health emergency

The decision came after Chinese authorities moved to lock down three cities on Thursday

Northern B.C. RCMP investigating alleged sexual assault in downtown Smithers

One person was transported by ambulance to hospital following RCMP investigation at Sedaz

Big White warns skiers to avoid tree wells after two fatalities at other resorts

Tree wells form when low branches at the base of coniferous trees stop snow from settling at trunk

Here’s what Canada is doing to stop the coronavirus from getting in

Health officials are monitoring multiple possible cases in Canada

RCMP investigating sexual allegation against Lower Mainland police officer

Delta officer suspended while the alleged off-duty incident involving a co-worker is investigated

VIDEO: Rare ‘ice circle’ spotted on Kamloops river

An ice circle or ice pan, has formed in the chilly waters just east of the Yellowhead Bridge

Interior Health issues drug alert in Kamloops

Testing of two samples of drugs sold as crystal meth was positive for fentanyl

Investigators in wildfire-torn Australia head to site of B.C. airtanker crash

The B.C. government sends condolences to Port Alberni-owned Coulson Aviation

B.C. still struggling to control non-resident medical care fraud

Unpaid bills, out-of-province claimants a costly legacy of MSP

Most Read