The wait was longer than Jordan Rapp wanted, but it was worth it.
Representing the United States, Rapp won the ITU Long Distance World Triathlon championship in Henderson, Nev. in 5:00:15.
“It was one of those things to represent your country is a pretty rare treat,” said Rapp, who resides in Penticton for six months each year. “It was especially nice to do it when they had it in the U.S. It was in Germany in 2010.”
The defending and two-time Subaru Ironman Canada champion had been looking forward to participating in the event for two years. This year’s event, held Nov. 5, had a slight change as the swim portion was cancelled due to unsafe waters. Cold air temperatures combined with 17-degree waters changed the course to a 120-kilometre bike and 30-km run.
“It was quite cold,” said Rapp, who felt it was the right decision. “I think in retrospect a lot of us felt, I think people said, ‘Oh, they should have had the swim.’ I think it’s easy to say that when you don’t have to ride for the first hour or so in soaking wet clothing. It was really cold, that’s for sure. My first thought actually when I showed up at the race site was maybe I should just go home.”
Part of the reason Rapp considered not entering is because he will be competing in Ironman Arizona in two weeks. His thinking was to put all his energy into that race.
“I thought I was pushing the envelope to do two long races close together,” he said.
The biggest challenge for Rapp was that he never did a race in which the swim had been cancelled. Prior to starting, Rapp felt he was capable of winning a medal in a distance that was new to him against new competitors.
“I didn’t feel I had enough information to make a good decision on whether or not I could win,” he said. “To win in the U.S. as a U.S. athlete, it was remarkable. To stand on the podium when they played the national anthem, this is because of me. That is pretty amazing.”
Penticton’s Carl Peterson, 60, won his age group (60 to 64) crossing the finish line in 6:56:32. Peterson couldn’t believe he won.
“I trained hard for it and it paid off,” said Peterson, who credited his coaches Kevin Cutjar and Karl Donoghue for his win.
Peterson, who has competed in two Subaru Ironman Canada events, said the tough moment for him was on the run. He said the course in Henderson is very hilly.
“The fourth loop takes everything you have to get through it,” he said.
The goal for the retired construction worker was to reach the podium and have a chance at victory. When he saw the board, Peterson said his numbers looked good so he knew he had a chance to win.
“It was exhilarating,” said Peterson. “I couldn’t believe I saw my name at the top.”
The win was important to Peterson because it was a world event and he always wanted to compete in one. Participating in events of this calibre is something he said athletes dream about and want to get to the top.
“Not many people in Penticton can say they are world champions,” said Peterson, who high-fived Rapp while sitting with the American and his family during the awards banquet. “It means a lot to me.”