PICTOU – Two athletes with Pictou County roots have decided to attempt a triathlon for the first time.
Kailyn MacCarthy from Caribou Island and Jonathan Atwin from Lyons Brook were scheduled to leave on Thursday to take part in the Olympic-distance Kelowna Apple Triathlon in B.C.’s Okanagan Valley on Sunday.
The Kelowna Apple traces its history to 1983 and is this year’s host of the Triathlon Canada National Championships and ITU CAMTRI Continental Cup.
“It was kind of our New Year’s Resolution,” MacCarthy said.
“We thought about how cool it would be to do this,” Atwin said.
The thought of something like this goes back to last August when Atwin visited MacCarthy in Vancouver.
“It’s my second home,” he said. “I like it out there.”
MacCarthy flew recently for a visit at home from Vancouver, where she works as a registered nurse. She was Northumberland Regional High School’s top female athlete where she played on the school’s female hockey and soccer teams, but both of them have a sports background.
Atwin studied human kinetics in university.
The strong friendship they have formed goes back to when they were kids.
“I played hockey and soccer growing up,” Atwin said. “Kailyn and I were on the same peewee house league team in Pictou.”
Of the three sports disciplines in triathlons – swimming, cycling and running, Atwin’s strong suit is running. He ran the 2018 Valley Harvest half marathon and the 2019 Bluenose half marathon and the recent Johnny Miles 10K Classic.
MacCarthy also runs when she can. She recently completed the Skeena River Relay from Prince Rupert to Terrace, B.C. But she’s an accomplished cyclist.
Both see a need to improve their swimming speed.
“For Kailyn, cycling comes easily because she’s a commuter,” Atwin said. “She flies past me.”
MacCarthy said driving a bike in downtown Vancouver is relatively safe.
“It’s pretty (cycling) friendly,” she said. “There are a lot of rules and drivers seem to obey them.”
Triathlon goals for both MacCarthy and Atwin are simple.
“My goal is just to finish and just to experience it and get to know the sport and see if it’s something we want to pursue,” Atwin said. “I think it’s something we could do for a long time.”
“I want to be present and take it all in,” MacCarthy said. “It’s exciting to do something new.”
Hosting the events this weekend is important to Kelowna Apple Triathlon organizers.
Last year’s events in August was cancelled due to poor air quality from the forest fires that rampaged B.C. and prompted the province to issue a state of emergency.
From left: Kailyn MacCarthy and Jonathan Atwin stand by her bicycle at the head of the Jitney Trail in Pictou. (Goodwin photo)