There’s something about the surroundings in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho that seem to bring out the best in Heather Wurtele.
The 34-year-old triathlete from Kelowna set a course record on Sunday on the way to capturing the 2013 edition of Ironman Coeur d’Alene.
Wurtele set the pace in the women’s pro division, completing the 3.8 km swim, 180 bike ride and 42.2 kilometre run in nine hours 16 minutes two seconds, knocking 38 seconds off the former standard set by Julie Dibens in 2011.
Wurtele, who took control of the race on the bike leg, also picked up $15,000 for her efforts.
“These things are hard and they don’t get any easier,” Wurtele told the Spokesman-Review. “I was just full throttle all day. I had a strong ride and really wanted to keep pushing it on the run. It hurt all day, but it’s a satisfying kind of hurt when your body is cooperating with you and you can keep pushing.”
In the past, Wurtele has performed well in Coeur d’Alene, winning the amateur division there in 2006 in her first ever Ironman.
A year later, in 2007, she captured the pro division at the same venue.
“Coeur d’Alene holds a really special place in my heart,” Wurtele told CDAPress.com. “All the people yelling my name was very special.”
The win this summer in Idaho was sweet vindication for Wurtele who was disqualified last year for riding another bike, after hers encountered mechanical troubles.
“It was just a really negative experience (last year),” she said. “More than anything I just wanted to kind of have a do-over, turn it into a positive experience and just go out and have the race that I could.”
Except for a flat front tire, pretty much everything went according to plan on Sunday for Wurtele who continues to race with passion and commitment. “It’s special feeling to know you did your best,” told CDAPress. “The day it gets old is the day to retire.”
It was Wurtele’s fifth career victory at the full Ironman distance.
She will now prepare for the Ironman 70.3 (half) World Championship in Las Vegas in September, followed by the Ironman World Championship Oct. 12 in Hawaii.