Year after year, Tyler Berthelsen was at Okanagan Lake to catch the swim that kicked off Subaru Ironman Canada.
He just loved being there. And he tried to be there at midnight to support those pushing their limit to beat the cut-off time. When he was seven, Berthelsen finished the Subaru Ironman Canada triathlon with family friends Lance and Sheila Bishop. It was during that moment Berthelsen told himself that he would do the event when he turned 18, the youngest an athlete can compete. Eleven years later Berthelsen fulfilled his promise and finished in 12 hours, 13 minutes, nine seconds, slightly slower than his goal of 12 hours.
“I was still very happy with it,” said Berthelsen, who had his own cheering team wearing bright green Team Tyler T-shirts. “It was awesome. They were pretty bright shirts so it was perfect coming into town. I could spot who was cheering for me. It was an awesome boost for me.”
Berthelsen, who will be playing volleyball this fall in Nanaimo for Vancouver Island University, finished the swim in 1:06:47. His only concern on the bike was not ending up with a flat tire. Several athletes passed him, but he kept his pace and 6:18:56 later, he was starting the run. Once he got to the run, he knew he could finish.
Reaching the finish line was reward for Berthelsen who put in the training and a lot of running along Lakeshore Drive. At times he would pretend he was nearing the end.
“The whole journey to get here was awesome,” said Berthelsen, who had some saying he was crazy to do it and others who doubted him.
Despite his greatest desire to return to the finish line at midnight, he was on his couch at 10:30 p.m. too tired to return.
“I watched it on my laptop,” said Berthelsen, still giving his support.