Ryan Parton, left, Derek Vinge and Tyler McCallan (and fans) show off their hardware from XTERRA Victoria July 9. Parton and Vinge qualified for the XTERRA World Championships in Maui this October.

Two Comox Valley triathletes qualify for worlds

Two local triathletes have qualified for the premiere event in off-road triathlon – the XTERRA World Championships in Maui.

Derek Vinge and Ryan Parton, both members of the Comox Valley Triathlon Club, won their respective age divisions at XTERRA Victoria on July 9, earning a spot to compete against the best off-road triathletes in the world in October.

In an ultra-competitive field that included 18 professional triathletes, Vinge finished an impressive eighth overall – the third non-pro to cross the line – and won his M35-39 division with a time of 2:22:03. Parton finished 26th overall with a time of 2:43:31, winning the M40-44 division.

“It’s an incredible honour,” said Parton. “I know how much both of us put into this sport, with the goal always being to compete at a higher and higher level. Personally, I’ve got my PACE Multisport coach to thank, plus my family for putting up with my zany training schedule – and of course the guys at Trail Bicycles, who always get my bike running in top shape before a race.”

Vinge expressed similar sentiments following the race.

“I owe so much to my family for allowing me to pursue my goals in triathlon,” he said. “On a broader level, the Comox Valley Triathlon Club and Comox Valley Road Runners have been huge in terms of providing support for my training.”

Also competing at XTERRA Victoria was Tyler McCallan of Cumberland, who finished 11th overall, second in the M30-34 division, with a fast time of 2:29:24.

Off-road triathlon, formally known as cross-triathlon, consists of a 1.5-kilometre open water swim, an approximate 30km mountain bike and about a 10km trail run. XTERRA Victoria is widely considered to be the toughest course on the XTERRA World Tour, which comprises 42 races in 33 countries.

As an added bonus, XTERRA Victoria also served as the B.C. Cross Triathlon Championship — which means Vinge and Parton were each crowned provincial champions in their respective divisions.