Local triathlete Mark Sinnige has excellent showing in his first Ironman

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Main photo: Friends and family helped Mark Sinnige (third from left) celebrate the completion of his first Ironman (from left) Mark Verbeek, Mary McGill (mother-in-law), Haydee (spouse), Brianna (daughter). Andrew Morrison (cousin), Jenn Ryan, and Jessica Verbeek.

By Don McCormick

If there was a “Triathlon Performance of the Week” award it would have to go to Huntsville’s Mark Sinnige for this past week. On August 18, Sinnige completed the Mont-Tremblant Ironman (3.8 km swim, 180 km bike and 42.2 km run)—his first full Ironman—in 10:29:04 for a ninth place finish out of 251 in his age group (50-54) and 144th out of 2396 competitors overall.

“Everything went according to plan,” explains Sinnige. “It was proper preparation and proper nutrition on race day. I had multiple coaches tell me to stick to the race plan and be patient.”  It was obviously a good plan and well executed. He was fifth in his age group out of the water, 40th off the bike and second on the run. “Obviously I’d like to improve on the bike,” says Sinnige.

While he has done eight or nine half Ironmans (1.9 km swim, 90 km bike and 21.1 km run), the full Ironman “is a whole different event,” says Sinnige. “The scale of the event is larger [than the half Ironman]. I was told that you will go through rough patches and you just have to be patient and come out of them. The whole day is spent holding back – finding the pace you can maintain.”

He adds that, “The roughest patch of the day came at about the 35-kilometre mark in the run. They talk about the halfway point in the marathon being at the 35-kilometre mark. Typically you’re okay up to then. It’s after that point that anything can happen so you just don’t know. I was fortunate to still feel good at that point.”

It is a testament to the preparation, the race plan and the race plan execution that Sinnige claims, “I felt the best post-race that I have ever felt.”

Sinnige pays tribute to his coach Jess Adam of Lifesport and to the support of his family through the seven months of training.

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