Kitchener-Waterloo triathletes finish on the podium at Ironman event in Muskoka

A group of triathletes are already on the podium less than six months after forming an endurance club in Kitchener-Waterloo.

“I did think we had the chance to be competitive, but coming away with first place in our first event, I couldn’t have anticipated that necessarily,” said Mark Cullen, head coach.

The club won first place at a recent Ironman competition in Muskoka. The competition included a 21.1 kilometre run, 1.9 kilometre swim, and 90 kilometre bike ride.

“It is a lot of work,” said Jessica Kuepfer, tri-athlete and coach. “Sometimes up to 18 hours of training a week.”

The club only formed this past spring with co-founder Mark Cullen launching virtual training during the lockdown.

“We started with indoor training, but still together on different platforms and then moving to outdoor training,” said Lisa Lang, club member. “Being all together has been an unbelievable experience and a much needed one.”

Now some members want to take their training to the next level. Of the club’s 70 members, around ten are pushing to qualify for the world championships.

“It’s a big goal because they’ve limited the number of slots available due to COVID-19,” said Kuepfer.

Kuepfer is competing alongside some teammates in Wisconsin this weekend, with a goal of earning a spot at the world championships.