BY BILL PHILLIPS
Jason Keller is always up for a challenge.
Even though he isn’t a strong swimmer and didn’t know how to cross-country ski, he took on the challenge of competing solo in the 2017 Prince George Iceman.
So what, you say?
Well, the Prince George Iceman is an eight-kilometre cross-country ski at the Otway Nordic Centre, followed by a 10-kilometre run to the Prince George Ice Oval where a five-kilometre skate is in order, followed by another five-kilometre run and then an 800-metre swim at the Prince George Aquatic Centre. Most compete in teams … except for those, like Keller, who are up for a challenge.
“I got challenged by a client and a friend of mine who said ‘you’re always doing body-building shows, or fights, or races, do the Iceman … that’s one of the hardest things ever,’” he said. “I didn’t even know what the Iceman was.”
When he found out what the Iceman entails, that was almost as far as it went because he didn’t know how to do three of the sports involved. Then his friend told him that he had done the Iceman solo and that was it for Keller who decided he was going to beat his friend’s time.
He’s not sure if he beat his friend’s time but … “I beat the time of before they put the bleachers away.”
Keller says it was the hardest thing he has ever done. He had never skied before and that year there wasn’t much snow he couldn’t even start learning cross-country skiing until after Christmas.
“I hadn’t swum since I was 15 years old, so I had to learn that all over again,” he said. “I didn’t practice skating because I thought I knew how to do it.”
He might have been the most graceful, or the fastest, but he completed the entire course.
“I pulled it all together, it was quite amazing,” he said. “It’s one of the biggest goals.”
He said fellow Iceman competitors provided lots of support as well, cheering on the competitor who might not have been as accomplished at some of the events as others. It was a great experience and Keller encourages anyone who is interested to compete, either solo or with a team.
“It’s only a race if you’re racing,” he said. “If you’re just trying to compete it, that’s all that matters. Whether you walk, crawl, or run, it doesn’t really matter, as long as you’re participating.”
He says it is a unique event and encourages people to become involved, either as a competitor, volunteer, or simply to cheer the athletes on during the event.
The Prince George Iceman goes February 10. It’s not too late to enter the event or volunteer to help out.