It was only fitting that Vernon’s Nathan Champness won the 11th Annual Wine Capital of Canada Oliver Half Iron Sunday.
After all, the 30-year-old is much like wine fine as he improves with age. A decade ago, Champness ran a half Ironman in five hours and 38 minutes. He posted a sizzling 4:06 to take the Oliver race by six minutes over Anthony Toth of Kelowna. Champness was second last year.
Such drastic strides are not uncommon to the cat-loving Champness, who took an hour off his previous best Vancouver Marathon time (3:07 is his current PB) a few years back.
Champness also ruled the Oliver Sprint Triathlon Saturday, in 1:55.20, six minutes in front of Edmonton’s Richard Reid.
“When they (Oliver) decided to have both the sprint and Half Ironman races on the same weekend, I figured I would try and win both of them, get the double,” said Champness. “I was expecting it to go well, but not that well. I shaved time off my personal bests in both distances.”
Nothing in the Half Iron went sideways with his bike, which has happened in the past, nor the swim in Tuc-el-Nuit Lake or the run which is fairly flat out and back through the quiet streets of Oliver.
The 5-foot-9, 170-pound Kalamalka grad started trail runs as a 19-year-old studying human kinetics at unversity in Camrose.
“I was doing triathlons and I started watching Ironman videos and got hooked.”
Sam Lazar of Armstrong placed 18th in the Half Iron, in 4:48:35. He was sixth in the men’s 35-39 class.
Mike Gilman of Vernon was seventh in the triathlon, in 2:21:03, tops in the men’s 40-44 category.
Laura Medcalf of Vernon finished 12th, in 2:29:17, while Paul Filippi was 14th, two minutes back.