Warren HendersonBlack Press
For pretty much every stroke, pedal and step of the way on Sunday, Andrew Russell’s thoughts were with one very special person.
The 30-year-old Victoria resident dedicated his final appearance at the Pushor Mitchell Apple Triathlon to his terminally ill mom, Ann Russell. And he couldn’t have asked for a better result on a scorching Kelowna afternoon as Russell captured the elite Olympic distance race in one hour 56 minutes 21 seconds.
Russell moved to Victoria from Revelstoke five years ago and won his first race on the International Triathlon Union circuit in Magog, Que., last month. In that race, he out-duelled Saanich’s Matt Sharpe for first place with Sharpe finishing second. This time it was another Victoria athlete, Andrew McCartney, who
finished the 1.5 km swim, 40 km bike, and 10 km run in second place, nine seconds back of Russell. Joe Maloy of the U.S.A. was third and Sharpe was fourth.
“It’s my seventh year in the elite and to win here as close to home as possible, it’s a really special moment,” said an emotional Russell after the race.
“I really did it for my mom; she’s quite sick. And this is the end of my short-course career, so there’s no better way to finish it off.”
For the first time in five years, the Apple Triathlon didn’t serve as the Canadian championships, and was therefore without some the biggest names in Canadian triathlon. Simon Whitfield, Kirk Jones and Paula Findlay didn’t compete in Kelowna.
Still, it didn’t take any of the sheen off of the victory UVic Vikes track and field athlete Ellen Pennock’s win in the women’s elite race on Sunday.
The 19-year-old won the Apple title convincingly in her first race at the elite level, after attending the event as a junior since she was 14.