BY BILL PHILLIPS
Third time was the charm for Scott McWalter.
After signing up for two previous Ironman competitions but not completing them, on June 3 he completed the Victoria Ironman competition. For those not familiar with Ironman competitions, they are not for the casual weekend athlete.
The Victoria Ironman starts with a 1.9-kilometre swim in Elk Lake. That is followed by a 90-kilometre bike ride and, after that, a 21.1-kilometre run. Athletes have eight-and-a-half hours to complete the course and about 20 per cent of the competitors don’t complete the race.
McWalter, who dropped out of his first Ironman because of injury and his second because didn’t prepare enough, the work for the Victoria Ironman began last August and he followed his training plan right up until race day. And it paid off.
“I went above and beyond my own expectations,” he says. “I originally just wanted to complete the Ironman, but with my training program, as I progressed, I kept gaining confidence. The more confidence I gained, I realized that I was going down there to compete, not just complete it.”
McWalter says he is a “horrific” swimmer, so he knew the 1.9-kilometre swim portion of the event was going to be a challenge. Rather than try to jockey for position among all the competitors as the mass start hit the water, he did something a little different.
“I let 2,000 athletes go in the water before me,” he said. “I started dead last. I ended up passing more than 750 athletes throughout the duration of the entire Ironman.”
His goal was complete it in less than seven hours and 30 minutes. Anyone who knows McWalter or follows him on social media knows #goalspank is his trademark hashtag. He definitely spanked his goal of seven hours and 30 minutes, crossing the finish line in six hours six minutes.
Being able to compete at that level takes proper preparation and it takes time and sacrifice, he says. And his training regimen involves a lot of moving parts.
“Cardiovascular, for sure, but I was also doing resistance training five times a week,” he says. “I owe a lot of my training success to other groups around town like the Wheelin’ Warriors of the North. They have two weekly bike rides, indoor during the winter and outdoor in the summer. You can go on a three-hour bike ride, but it doesn’t seem that long because you’re sharing that journey some other motivating individuals.”
The Aquatic Centre is an amazing facility, he says, where he touches up his ‘horrific’ swimming. He also holds three different gym memberships.
“I love variety and it creates a routine where on certain days I go to certain gyms and you don’t get sick and tired of the same old atmosphere.”
And, being able to complete an Ironman involves mental preparation as well as physical, he says.
“Ironman is a perfect example of something I firmly believe in and that’s goal-setting,” he says. “If you want something, if you believe in something, write it down on paper and take bite-sized chunks out of that goal every single day. Keep working towards it, anything is possible.”
So is another Ironman in the works for McWalter? He isn’t tipping his hand just yet, but it will undoubtedly involve a challenge.
“Success becomes addictive,” he says. “I always believe that any kind of goal is a stepping stone to something else. I have something in mind that I’m going to announce September 30, which is bigger than an Ironman, to me. The training for that started as soon as I crossed the finish line at Ironman.”