Five times. That’s how often local athlete Don McCormick, 77, has acquired a spot on Canada’s national triathlon team. He was a member in 1993, 1994, 1996, and 1997, and now, 22 years later, he will experience the world championships in Lausanne, Switzerland in September 2019.
McCormick competed in his first triathlon in 1989 in Huntsville when triathlon was still a relatively young sport and not many athletes knew what it was or what it entailed. He competed seriously from 1991 to 1997 and more casually from 1997 to the present, he said.
The now well-known sport combines three disciplines—swimming, biking and running—and McCormick feels he is fairly good at all three and doesn’t have to be the best at any one of them.
“I didn’t have to be really good in any one sport to be successful, being reasonably good in the three sports combined was to my advantage,” he said.
During his 1996 season, McCormick won the Subaru Triathlon series for Ontario and became an Ontario and national triathlon champion. He also won silver at the national duathlon championships that year and qualified for the national team and world championships where he placed 13th.
McCormick said he’d really like to have a podium finish at the world championships, a goal he’ll be striving for in Lausanne this year.
You may have seen McCormick around town as he trains, or competes in local triathlons, or encourages other athletes from the sidelines as he photographs them in action.
He has also done his part to promote the sport.
“In 1996, I was asked by Trisport (the organization that put on the Huntsville triathlon) to help with the running of the Huntsville triathlon and I became their local go-to guy for recruiting volunteers, race promotion, and handling of the local political issues,” said McCormick. He has also been on the board of local triathlon group TriMuskoka.
The Town of Huntsville has also recognized McCormick’s determination and commitment and inducted him into the Huntsville Sports Hall of Fame in 2013. At that time, the owners of Trisport, Mitch and Janet Fraser, commented on McCormick’s efforts over the years. “Whenever we needed you, you were there. Without you it would not have been possible.”
McCormick’s coach, Barrie Shepley from the national team, also sent his best wishes and said, “Don excelled in the sport of triathlon more because of determination, guts and courage than because of natural talent. I have never found anyone more passionate, driven and supportive of others in the sport of triathlon.”
Huntsville will be cheering on McCormick’s journey to Switzerland in 2019 with an equal amount of enthusiasm. Good luck, Don!
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