It was awesome…the day started with a 3:30 a.m. wake-up…down to the Okanagan Marina by 4:30 a.m., set up and wait for the rest of the lifeguard volunteers to show. We were all out and in position by 6 a.m. – kayakers, dive teams, boats and Search and Rescue (that’s where I was). Then, the race began.
Two thousand eight hundred and eighty athletes took off swimming the 3.8 kilometers. I was lucky for my first time guarding. There were only three pull outs…no majors.
In the afternoon, I worked the medical tent. I was assigned a six bed section which meant running for cold packs, water, heat blankets and whatever else the doctors and nurses needed. Most importantly, I was there to give reassurance and comfort to the athletes.
The amazing thing for me, as a person trained in prevention, was to see the other side when one needs treatment. These athletes came in screaming in pain from cramped muscles, some fainting and the quick response from the medical teams was amazing. I can now see why the medical tent won “best transition station” after the event ended.
Later, at the appreciation dinner, I met Jordan Rapp. He is a three time winner of the Penticton Ironman race. His story is inspirational. Last year he was a victim of a hit and run leaving him with a severed jugular. If it wasn’t for the quick response of a nearby witness, Jordan would have bled out and died in minutes.
There were approximately 4,500 volunteers for this event. The oldest volunteer was 91 years old and has volunteered at every Ironman for the past 29 years. Another inspiring person was Sister Mondano Buder “the Ironman Nun. She is eighty one years old and a competitor. How awesome is that. I’m going back next year for the thirtieth anniversary competition in 2012. What an awesome experience.
Carol Mack moved to Princeton in 1991. She grew up in Toronto and after spending time in Alberta, eventually, made her way to the west coast. Carol, her husband, David, and their two kids lived in the Lower Mainland. “And then our house got robbed,” Carol stated. “That was kind of it for us with the city life. We decided it was time to relocate to a smaller community with less crime.”
In 1992, a job posting for a lifeguard drew Mack’s attention. “The Princeton pool had just re-opened,” she stated. “I applied and got the job.”
“Ever since I started managing the pool here,” she stated, “I have been getting asked to come volunteer at the Ironman Canada event in Penticton and every year I have had other obligations. Finally, this year I said to myself this is it…this is the year…time to cross this off my bucket list.” Mack worked as a lifeguard and medic and was thrilled to finally have the opportunity. “It was awesome. Next year I want to take a crew.”