By Francois Biber  - Vermilion Standard - LINK to Story

On July 3 Vermilion's Alison Farkash was the first female to cross the finish line at the Canmore Olympic Triathlon with a time of 2:20:46.9.

"The two-and-a-half hours for the Canmore triathlon flew by," said Farkash.

"I love how you change sports, because if I only had to do one thing I'd be really bored."

She described the course as having a lot of hills, which suited her as she trained at the Provincial Park and conquered the walking trial hills many times.

"While I was training on the course I figured whoever won this race was going to win it on the cycling part and the run," said Farkash and luckily for her, she says her strongest area is in cycling and running.

The Canmore Olympic Triathlon consisted a of 1,500 m swim, 40 km bike sprint and a 10 km run to finish off.

"The hardest is switching from cycling to running. The cycling portion is about an hour and 20 minutes of hard biking and then you have to switch your legs to a different pattern. That switch is tough," said Farkash.

Having been the first woman to cross the finish line Farkash says it was because there were two races going on, an Olympic and sprint triathlon, she didn't know until late in the race how well she was doing.

"I knew I had a really strong cycle portion but I didn't know how I did in the swim portion. My soon to be father-in-law was yelling at me from the sidelines during the run saying I was in the lead, but I never knew for sure," she said.

With her first place finish Farkash qualified for the World Triathlon Final in Auckland, New Zealand in October 2012.

Since Farkash is still fairly new in the triathlon community, she is still unaffiliated so all the costs come from her pocket making the journey to Auckland difficult to afford.

"Since now I can claim I'm an Alberta Provincial champion I might be able to get some sponsorship," she said.

Growing up in Vermilion Farkash said she was heavily involved in sports and athletics, playing soccer, gymnastics and track and field, but she never saw herself as a triathlete. To this day Farkash says she never chose triathlon, instead it chose her.

"I went off to college hoping for something else to come my way and at one point I found myself biking, swimming and running," said Farkash adding how someone in Vermilion started up a triathlon club in April 2008. Farkash was urged by lifeguards at the Lakeland College Aquatic Centre to join, so Farkash joined in July.

"I trained with them for two weeks and we went to the national race in Kelowna, B.C.," said Farkash.

"If I didn't have that team with me I wouldn't have had a clue what to do, how to set my stuff up or anything."

Farkash was given a racing bicycle from a local man Vaughn Cooper. She recalls going out on a training ride and being struck by a car and destroyed the bike.

"Because it was the driver's fault Vaughn got a new bike and so did I. Then I won a couple of door prizes from other races so I've been collecting triathlon gear," said Farkash.

"I knew I had a little bit of talent and gear to do a triathlon. I figured I'd give it a serious attempt."

Farkash hired a trainer for a year and won a triathlon in Whistler, B.C. before transferring to Trinity Western University in Langley, B.C. where she runs and swims with the school team. This past January, Farkash began studying Kinesiology.

"I love athletics and the human body is amazing, all the things you can put it through," said Farkash.

Farkash trains twice a day everyday as she sets her sights on the National Triathlon in Kelowna in August. She credits her determination and discipline to her time growing up and working on her family farm.

"Growing up on a farm taught me a lot of discipline training and attitude for triathlon training," said Farkash.

"Even if it's raining I talk myself into going out and training."

Last Updated: 2012-03-07
Author: Mark Janzen