By: Karen Karnis
Andrew McCartney was ranked 34th out of the 39 competitors as he stood at the start of the World Triathlon Yokohama, but he didn’t let that intimidate him. Instead, he stuck to the plan he had devised, which turned out to be solid, as he finished the race in 7th place, a breakthrough for this long time triathlete.
“Step by step I knew exactly what I was capable of in all three disciplines. I planned out where I want to be at each point in the race,” he says. “I stuck to the plan and I had fun. I had a smile on my face for the entire bike and run. Having fun makes everything much easier.”
This breakthrough race means everything will change for the 26-year-old from Victoria. “With my World triathlon series ranking now at 28th, the goal is to protect my ranking,” he says. This means he will have to do more racing in Europe, requiring some serious changes to his training and his overall schedule. “Working a couple of part time jobs makes for a bit of a balancing act, however with this result support from Triathlon Canada is looking good,” he adds.
But all of that doesn’t stop him from encouraging local kids. In June, he was on hand at the Victoria Youth Triathlon to hand out finisher medals – a race he remembers fondly as his first triathlon. He tells the story: “I was in the 6-8 year old division. I was always a decent swimmer, but I spent most of the ride ringing my bell and waving to my parents. I would refocus in on the run and race hard to the finish. I finished with a strong feeling of accomplishment and I enjoyed seeing the same reaction in those who participated this year.”
He credits having a strong support system and plenty of role models with his decision to pursue triathlon. “Growing up in Victoria, BC. I would swim in the lanes next to some amazing idols including Australian Greg Bennett, Multi-Ironman World Champion Peter Reid and of course Simon Whitfield,” says McCartney. “Being in such great company, even if I was in a separate lane, gave me and several others a foot up at a young age.” He has also taken lessons from each of the coaches he’s had, and is very grateful to his parents for their support – and early morning rides to the pool – over the years.
He’s also had the support of Mizuno as a Brand Ambassador since 2004. “I had worn Mizuno long before then so I felt very lucky to form this relationship early in my sporting career,” he says. If he had to choose a favourite shoe, however, he says he’d have a hard time choosing between the Wave EVO Cursoris and the Wave Ronin: “I love the slipper-like comfort of the EVO Cursoris and the race ready design of the Ronins.”
McCartney’s 2013 goals include top-15 placings in the World Triathlon Series events in Austria and Germany, but he has a long term plan as well. “My long term goal is to represent Canada at the Olympic Games in Rio and at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland next year,” he says.
For those considering taking up triathlon, McCartney offers this advice: “I strongly encourage participation in Triathlon. It is one of those sports that you get hooked on. I think the main thing is keep it fun.”