Local athlete prepares for Ironman World Championships

October 9, 2011

By Christina Lords

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After losing several months of training time due to a car versus bicycle collision a year ago, Newcastle resident Cindy Bigglestone will compete with seven other Eastside triathletes in the Ironman World Championship this month.

Cindy Bigglestone, of Newcastle, races the running leg during Ironman Canada in Penticton, British Columbia on Aug. 28 to qualify for the Ironman World Championship Oct. 8 in Kona, Hawaii. Contributed

This year’s world championship will be Oct. 8 in Kona, Hawaii.

Cindy, who was unable to start training until February for the event, qualified for the championship Aug. 28 at Ironman Canada with the help of her husband and coach, Ben Bigglestone.

“Mentally, it’s not fun to be on your bike when you’re scared,” she said. “With the help of honestly a great coach and team to train with for support, it got me back to the start line at Kona.”

An Ironman competition includes a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile run. An Olympic triathlon, by comparison, is a 1,600-yard swim a 24.9-mile bike ride and a 6.2-mile run.

The Ironman Canada event was Cindy’s 15th Ironman. She previously competed in the world championships in 2004 and 2005.

Cindy said she has been swimming three times per week, running 40 to 50 miles per week and biking 10 to 12 hours per week to prepare for the event.

“It’s great to see what your body can go through and what you can achieve,” she said. “You know that you can push beyond that and see how much faster you can get, how much fitter and healthier you can be.”

Tens of thousands of people participate in Ironman-qualifying competitions worldwide throughout the year, but only 1,800 ultimately qualify for the world championship.

“A lot of triathletes are driven by that goal,” Ben said. “That’s the pinnacle of the sport for them — qualifying for the Ironman World Championships.”

Eight other athletes Ben coaches from Vo2Multisport, an indoor performance training facility founded by Ben, qualified for the world championship.

They include Whitney Engle, from Bellevue; Lilia Paradis, from Seattle; Gerry Marvin, from Bellevue; Mike Pritchard, from Bellevue; Joe Silvernale, from Yarrow Point; Kara Nielsen, of Seattle; and Ryan Dolan, from Seal Beach, Calif.

Dale McClure, of Mercer Island, qualified for the event but will not compete.

“Statistically, that’s probably quite unusual to have that many athletes qualify from a small area or region go to that event,” Ben said. “It’s been a very successful year. It’s rewarding because for some of the people going this year, it’s been an eight- or nine-year goal for them.”

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