For Kandis Lipsett, living on the edge of a triathlon course on Eastside Road was kismet.
With each step the athletes took, it was almost as if the idea was being pounded into her head to put the feat of completing one herself on her bucket list. So inspired, she registered for the 2016 Challenge Penticton without even knowing how to swim.
Garnering energy from being the underdog, swimming became her passion as she dipped into the water four times a week training. It paid off with a ticket to the Multisport World Championship Festival this summer in Penticton.
“I’m super excited about it because truly when I signed up for the event, I was just racing against myself, for my best time,” said Lipsett, who is seeking sponsors.
The rookie triathlete had only competed in one race before, the Oliver 1/54/10. Lipsett then completed the ITU Long Course distance qualifier (a three-kilometre swim, 120-km bike and 30-km run) in eight hours, seven minutes, 13 seconds. That time put her among the world’s best age groupers in the 30 to 34 bracket (she placed 12th in her group but age group adjustments six weeks later bumped her into the qualifying group).
Lipsett, a wife and mother of two (Cedric, five, Temperance, two), said her focus was to do it to the best of her ability and show her kids that planning and lifestyle can help you achieve your goal. Lipsett has always been active and that is something she and her husband Kevin pass onto their kids. She enjoys mountain biking, ultimate frisbee and soccer. That active lifestyle has opened the door to what she will experience in the summer of 2017.
Putting on a Canadian uniform never crossed her mind, especially when she signed up for the ITU National championship. Lipsett said qualifying became an awesome reward and believes that not focusing on that helped her.
Lipsett, a chemical spill responder who travels within the region and sometimes further for incidents, has a training plan to balance her life. Her mindset is to do a little bit everyday for a long period of time, as well as seeking advice from friends and colleagues.
She gets up at 4 a.m. and runs, goes for a bike ride or swim for up to an hour and a half. If she doesn’t get called to a chemical spill, she will do some weights or resistance training.
“When I get home, that’s my family time until I go to bed (at 8 p.m.),” she said, adding her husband Kevin is very supportive.
“He is excited as well as the family. I feel like they are tagging along even though I train a lot by myself,” said Lipsett, who again considers herself an underdog heading into the world championship.
“I think it’s pretty amazing considering where she started,” said Kevin. “Everyone is rooting for her. I look forward to see how things play out in the worlds.”
Sheer grit and determination has always been on her side. A family road trip for her means on two wheels with her legs as gasoline. Kevin said while the family travelled by car to Grand Forks, Lipsett hopped on her bike and pedalled. They gave her an hour head start and while they had not even reached Oliver, she was already at the top of Anarchist Summit. Catching up with her in Greenwood, Kevin couldn’t believe it.
With that type of intestinal fortitude, Lipsett still maintains training and competing is fun. She said the opportunity to compete on a world stage, “gives me more fire to train harder.”
“When we all start, we’re all the same. Now the focus for the race is much different,” she said. “More competitive, but still fun. Still out there to beat my own time. I’ve tweaked a few things and I think it’s going to pay off.”
Despite the intense training, Lipsett finds the irony in that it has actually fuelled her addiction to triathlon. She said at times training is downright brutal, but talked about jumping the mental hurdle to keep pushing hard.
“If you work hard for it, and then when it’s done, you look back and you are just so proud of your achievement,” said Lipsett.
“Now I’m racing on Team Canada, it feels pretty monumental to myself,” she said. “Just to show my kids and to get them excited about the sport as well.”