Never let up, focus on your goal and pace yourself to reach the finish line. Such was the challenge for each athlete who competed in one of the most prestigious international events in the world, the Ironman.
This multidisciplinary challenge, which takes place in several locations around the world, was held in Quebec on August 19 in the Mont-Tremblant area. The Ironman, known as the longest in the triathlon discipline, consists of a 3.8-km swim, 180-km bike ride and a 42.2-km run before crossing the finish line.
Four CSC employees and a retired employee participated in the challenge: Josie Émery, primary worker at Joliette Institution, Philippe Blondin and Jean-Sébastien Poulin of the Regional Reception Centre, Martin Thiffault of Archambault Institution, and Jacques Brien, retired employee from the Staff College in Laval.
“First of all, this competition is a battle against yourself,” said Philippe Blondin, who finished with a time of 12:35. “In the triathlon, an important part of success lies in the mind. Throughout the course, smiling at people kept my mood up. Quitting was not an option. I had a strict plan in mind. On August 19, 2018, I accomplished a dream: becoming an Ironman. Just like in my career, if I can lead through example, both mentally and physically, I will be prouder and happier.”
Jean-Sébastien Poulin wanted to finish the Ironman with a time between 14:00 and 14:30.
“I crossed the finish line at 14:40. I believe that my goal was accomplished, given that I had a rather sedentary lifestyle three years ago. The most difficult challenge for me was the bicycle ride because of cramps that I experienced after the 100th kilometre. Despite the pains, the idea of quitting was never an option.”
Josie Émery, the only female of the group, was aiming for a time of approximately 13:30. She raised her fist triumphantly at 12:52.
“Since my swim had gone very well and my bicycle ride was going well, I began dreaming of finishing the race under 13:00. I wanted to be the sole author of my success. However, the marathon was the most difficult part. About thirty people came to encourage me. They were my energy. I owe them a lot.”
Martin Thiffault crossed the finish line at 15:32. He said he found it particularly painful to complete the first 21 km loop, to come so close to the finish line, but then have to continue for the next 21 km. He never thought of quitting.
Lastly, Jacques Brien wanted to finish inside of the 12-hour mark. Renowned for his exemplary physical condition and strength of character, he performed above expectations by crossing the finish line at 12:11 – a noteworthy result in the amateur class. The most difficult challenge? The marathon. Did he think of quitting in the middle of it? No! From the beginning, it was clear in his mind that finishing the course was his only option.
Jacques said that he was very satisfied that he finished this competition.
“After reassessing my course, I believe I made four technical mistakes. If it wasn’t for them, I would have easily crossed the 11-hour mark.”
Perhaps next time!