They say spending quality time together is the glue that holds a family together. Such is the case for the Debree family of Lacombe who have taken up the sport of triathlon (swimming, biking, running).
Not only is triathlon a challenging sport mentally and physically, it is something that four members of the family enjoy doing together.
The Debrees, Kevin and his wife Marian, and their two oldest and youngest daughters, Sam and Caitlin, recently competed at the Innisfail Triathlon.
Held right in the midst of the town on Sept. 12th, the course was physically challenging, and also included a tri-it race for children, families and new comers to the sport.
Marian and Caitlin both competed in the tri-it race, which was a 300m swim, a 5km bike ride and 2km run.
“For my wife, it was her first one ever,” explained Kevin. “It went really well for her and I think she was happy with the results.”
Caitlin, 15, who has been participating in triathlons for the past five years, placed as first female and second overall.
Sam and Kevin both competed in the sprint portion of the event, which was a grueling 750m swim, a 20km bike ride and a 5km run.
Impressively Sam, 20, who also runs cross country at Red Deer College, finished as the first female and fifth overall.
As for himself, Kevin finished as the first male and first overall.
Both the Debree athletes competed in half Ironman competitions this season, which for each event involves a 1.9km swim, a 90km bike ride and to top it off, a half marathon run (21.5km).
Kevin said he got into the sport over five years ago by building off his old routine of running. First he added the swimming element and then the biking portion, which have now become the two disciplines he enjoys the most.
“We’ve been doing it as a family for about five years now,” he said.
The Debree family has seen a lot of success this season at all the triathlons they’ve competed in. Kevin said he has noticed that as a family, in order for them to succeed, they’ve figured out they need to work hard.
“It’s not going to come easy and I think our successes have come because we’ve worked hard,” he said.
He noted this season Sam has upped her game in the cycling portion and it has paid dividends for her, especially during long rides.
The family trains together, practicing each of the disciplines at least twice a week. During the winter months, training becomes more challenging but they have adapted to indoor training for running and cycling. “My youngest daughter really likes to thank the Lacombe Dolphins Swim Club because they have really helped her swim fast,” said Kevin.
He also added both of his daughters have increased their running speeds this season thanks to Dr. Darren George at Burman University.
Kevin said one of the things he enjoys about the sport is the flexibility of the three elements.
“I like that you can be decent at all three,” he said. “You don’t have to specialize in one. If you are a good runner, usually all you do is run, but in triathlon, you have to be decent at all three disciplines.”
He added what he likes most about triathlon is that anyone can do it.
“If you can swim a length in the pool, you can do triathlon,” said Kevin. “You can rest at the ends. If you enjoy biking and you don’t mind running or even walking, you can do triathlon. I would like to encourage people to do it because they don’t have to specialize and it doesn’t cost a lot to get into the sport.”