“It was amazing to race on home soil yesterday. It was a really special experience.”
– Paula Findlay, Canadian Olympian and elite competitor
Over the Labour Day long-weekend, the world came to Edmonton, Alberta for the TransCanada Corp. World Triathlon Grand Final. The event officially closed the 25th annual World Triathlon Series, which included eight triathlon races worldwide.
In the months leading up to the event, the International Triathlon Union, local organizing committee, community partners, government and corporate sponsors worked together to ensure the event was an epic experience for athletes, coaches, spectators and the Edmonton community.
The week began with thousands of triathletes pouring into Edmonton. The streets were packed with international teams wearing their country colours and the atmosphere was electric. Everyone was eager to get down to Hawrelak Park to register and check out the race course they would be tackling in just a few days.
TransCanada kicked-off the Grand Final with a presentation to international sports media where we helped welcome competitors to the TransCanada Corp. World Triathlon Grand Final. For Francois Poirier, president of the Energy East Project at TransCanada and a triathlon and ironman enthusiast, spending the afternoon with the world’s best male and female triathletes was an experience to remember.
“I know first-hand how much training goes into preparing for a triathlon or ironman competition,” says Poirier. “These elite athletes train 24/7 and you can see it in their physique and in how they talk about the sport they love. They are 100% committed to excellence.”
After the press conference, athletes, coaches and spectators crowded into Sir Winston Churchill Square for the opening ceremonies and parade of nations. Then, it was literally off to the races!
“The feedback from the community has been very positive. Athletes from around the world were praising Edmonton’s race course, beautiful scenery and friendly citizens. I think overall it was a win for the city and TransCanada.”
– Francois Poirier, president, Energy East Pipeline Project at TransCanada
The weekend consisted of elite and paratriathlon races, standard and sprint distance age group races, as well as an aquathlon, under 23, junior/mixed relay world championships and a corporate race for the employees of sponsors. Hawrelak Park was transformed into a triathlon fanatic’s haven, complete with a sports expo showcasing the top brands in swimming, cycling and running from around the world.
In addition to our title sponsorship, TransCanada also sponsored the KidsZone where families could bring their kids throughout the day to have fun with bouncy castles, face painting, crafting, an obstacle course and triathlon-inspired games.
“The whole TransCanada KidsZone was themed healthy and active.”
– Theresa Riedl, TransCanada KidsZone Coordinator.
“The kids were just having fun, but we hope they took some of the health activity booklets home so they can read and understand how important exercise is to being healthy and happy,” says Riedl.
While the World Triathlon Grand Final is a serious competition for elite racers, it also serves as a fun event for all ages and promotes the importance of healthy and active lifestyles for youth and adults alike.
During the event’s six-day run, the world of triathlon focused on Edmonton as more than 3,000 athletes and 6,000 visitors descended on the city for the Grand Final, which attracted athletes from more than 73 countries and was broadcast to a worldwide television audience of approximately 45 million in 160 countries.
“Having TransCanada involved as a title sponsor and the many other sponsors helps ensure we can provide a really high quality, safe and memorable experience for those athletes,” says Don Iveson, corporate race competitor and mayor of Edmonton. “They take that out into the world where they go next and they say good things about Alberta and they say good things about Canada and they say good things about Edmonton and our business community and our volunteer community and all of that leaves the right impression with the people who decide where these events come in the future.”
“We need to share with the world how we move our energy products to them, because they need our energy as well, I think that opens up a positive conversation about Alberta’s role in the global energy market and TransCanada’s a key player in that so it’s a great fit.”
– Don Iveson, corporate race competitor and mayor of Edmonton
On Sunday, August 31, the corporate race event gave employees of corporate sponsors a chance to race on an elite level course with their colleagues. TransCanada had the largest team of all of the sponsors with 32 participating employees.
“We have a great Active Living Program at TransCanada that encourages all of us to be healthy and stay active in whatever sport we enjoy,” says Rick Coutts, corporate racer and vice-president of Construction Quality & Project Management at TransCanada. “I was very happy to see us step up to support the ITU championships and I was just really excited to be there and to be able to compete.”
“Best experience in years, I loved it.”
– Erik Tatarchuk, corporate racer and vice-president, Keystone Commercial Operations at TransCanada
The TransCanada Triathlon Team did a fantastic job as did all the racers and participants in the event. The International Triathlon Union has just released their 2015 schedule where once again the world’s elite triathletes will compete for the coveted title of world triathlon champion.
TransCanada has supported sport, culture and economic growth across Alberta for more than 60 years.