GREEN HILL — Local cycling and triathlon enthusiasts are celebrating, knowing that Ryan Shaun MacDonald has returned home with third-place honours at a renowned long-distance triathlon.
The local athlete known more for his cycling in his younger years has taken on triathlons with gusto and provided more evidence by finishing third overall and first among Canadians and first in his age group on Sunday at the 2018 Half-Ironman 70.3 Triathlon in Lake Placid, N.Y.
MacDonald, 25, is the two-time reigning champion at the Melmerby Triathlon at the Olympic distance in just his third season of competing in triathlons. He completed the race in four hours, 32 minutes, four seconds.
It was just his third half-ironman race.
He was first after the bike and swim and finished a minute, 49 seconds behind the winning time recorded by Scott Hansen of the U.S. and 10 seconds behind runner-up Colin Martin of the U.S.
MacDonald took four minutes, 28 seconds longer than Scott to complete the swimming portion and was in 59th place, but he moved a few seconds ahead of him after his run. Scott was a minute, 39 seconds faster in the run.
MacDonald could not be reached immediately for comment but others have been quick to speak for him.
Fellow triathletes Clint Snell and Terry Curley praised MacDonald’s talent and comportment.
“It’s huge,” Snell said of MacDonald’s achievement. “He’s an unbelievable athlete.”
Curley noted that MacDonald’s goal was to win his division to qualify him for the 2019 Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Nice, France which he has done.
“He’s a natural athlete and such a grounded young man,” Curley said.
He said MacDonald’s cycling background gives him an advantage and he can earn more success if his running improves.
“Ryan needs to improve his running,” Curley said. “It will be interesting to see what his approach is.”
The Lake Placid 70.3 is actually a half-ironman event that consists of a 1,900-metre swim, 90-kilometre bike ride and a 21.1-km, or half marathon, run.
MacDonald’s trip to Lake Placid meant he did not participate with fellow Pictou County Cycle members last Saturday at the Lost Shore Gran Fondo cycling event in Guysborough.
Thomas Baudoux was second, while Shawn Noftall was third and Snell was sixth among Pictou County cyclists.
Ryan Shaun MacDonald is shown between Olympic triathlon runner-up Shawn Noftall, left, and third-place finisher Satish Punna at the 2018 Melmerby Triathlon. (File photo)