Triathlon newcomer Linda Conrad (left) learns the ropes with coach Kim Young at the Rec Centre pool.

Triathlon newcomer Linda Conrad (left) learns the ropes with coach Kim Young at the Rec Centre pool.

Triathlon keeps Kim forever Young

Triathlon a life-changing experience for Vernon's Kim Young.

It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words. For local triathlete, Kim Young, a single photo changed the course of his life.

“I was 44 and working as a professional forester when I looked at a photo of a guy I didn’t recognize wearing my T-shirt. I couldn’t believe how badly out of shape I had become.”

Compounding this was the sad truth that Kim’s mother had died at age 43 from a heart attack.

“I knew the time had come to make some major changes,” said Young.

Moving to Vernon, Kim began his transformation by learning to run through Wendy Schroeder of The Starting Block’s learn to run program. Buoyed by his success, Young approached the Kal RATS (Running and Triathlon Society) with the view to completing a triathlon.

The rest is history. Young went on to successfully complete the Kal RATS sprint triathlon in 1999. He has since completed many triathlons, including Half Ironman races (2km swim, 90km bike, 20km run), and he even conquered the 7km Peachland Across the Lake Swim.

Young’s physical transformation was accompanied by an immense appreciation of what the sport had done for him. He was inspired to repay the sport by becoming a certified triathlon coach.

While coaching at all levels, he delights in teaching beginning athletes. During the past nine years, Young has run programs through the Greater Vernon Parks and Recreation Centre for more than 600 children and adults.

Local triathlete Pam Labossiere completed Young’s introductory triathlon course in 2002 and has since completed Ironman Canada twice.

When asked why he chose triathlon, young replies: “When I met members of the Kal RATS, I saw people 10 to 70 years of age. Each and every one of them possessed personal confidence and optimism. Triathlon creates an I-can-do-it attitude. With every class I teach, I share this gift with my students.”

Young’s commitment to triathlon runs deep. In addition to coaching, he regularly volunteers at local and regional events. Combining his other passion for motorcycles, he has volunteered numerous times at Ironman Canada, using his Honda to transport cameramen for the likes of TSN.

When away from triathlon, Young is the manager and chief instructor of V-Twin Motorcycle School. His patience and diligence once again shines through as he and his staff of 16 instructors prepare riders of all ages.

Anyone interested in getting involved in triathlon can e-mail Young at  coach_5@telus.net.

For further information on triathlon, visit the RATS’ website www.kalrats.com. Entry forms are now available for the Kids of Steel triathlon on Saturday, June 22, as well as the Kal RATS sprint on Sunday, June 23.

Meanwhile, Vernon’s Nathan Champness rebounded from a poor swim to finish second in the Oliver Half Ironman Triathlon Sunday in the South Okanagan.

Champness, who races for Starting Block/Saucony and Olympia Cycle, turned in the fastest run on the day, finishing the 21.1-km course in one hour and 25 minutes flat. His overall time was 4:18:58, placing him behind Surrey’s Nathan Killam (4:16:31).

Other North Okanagan racers earning top-five age-group finishes include daddy-to-be Simon Craig, who ranked second in the men’s 45-49 class, and 24th overall, in 4:58:09. Alanna Simms was fifth in the women’s 35-39 with a 5:36:15.