Sarah and Scott TRI To Keep it WILD in Dartmouth

Scott McClennan, Sarah McClennan and Michael Ayerst pose together at the finish line (Photo courtesy of Sarah McClennan)

Scott McClennan, Sarah McClennan and Michael Ayerst pose together at the finish line (Photo courtesy of Sarah McClennan)

July 16, 2014 | by Carys Richards

Sarah McClennan is a full-time emergency physician in Mississauga, ON and a mother to two boys, ages four and seven. On June 29, she completed the completed the Dartmouth Triathlon with her brother Scott. Their team was named TRI To Keep it WILD and they ran in support of the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) and wild spaces and raised $1,000. They were the only two-person team in the race and finished fifth overall. After the race, NCC Communications Intern Carys Richards asked Sarah to reflect on the experience.

CR: How long have you been involved in triathlons, and what is your past racing history?
SM: I have been doing sprint triathlons for the past 20 years. I ran cross-country at university and afterward got into triathlons as I am good at all three sports, but not "great" at one!  

CR: Why did you start, and what are your personal goals?
SM: I love triathlons. It is a very friendly sport. Athletes, even during races, are encouraging to each other. Now that I am a mother and work full time, my personal goals are to stay fit in the shortest possible time each day, be competitive in my age group and be outside as much as possible.
CR: What inspired you and your brother to sign up for the Dartmouth triathlon together, and you ever done any team races like this in the past?
SM: This is our first (hopefully, of many) events together. My brother moved to Dartmouth a couple of years ago and watched this race, which is run a block from his house. At first he thought I should just come and do it, but he is a very good runner, so I thought it would be more fun to do it together. It is also an excuse to go and see his new baby that was born only one month ago!  I think having something to support also made the race more exciting and inspired us to finish and complete the event.
CR: What kind of time and training commitment does a triathlon require?
SM: It depends on the distance. A full ironman distance would require considerable daily commitment - which is why my brother and I are sharing the distance. My philosophy is to work out hard when I do train, and Scott is already a marathon runner.
CR: What was the distance?
SM: I did 3.8 kilometre swim and a 90 kilometre bike ride. Scott also biked 90 kilometres and then ran 21 kilometres.
CR: What inner animal species do you channel when you race, and why?
SM: For this longer bike ride I think of strong and steady - maybe caribou crossing the plains!  During the race, I thought about all the animal species that have long treks, and about how far they have to travel.

CR: What is your favourite landscape in Canada, and why?
SM: There are so many wonderful landscapes in Canada it is hard to choose. As an Ontario resident, I would have to choose the Canadian Shield. I love the rocks, trees, and lakes in Ontario and it is one of my favourite places to bike, paddle, swim, and visit.

CR: What is your connection to NCC and why did you decide to donate your proceeds to them?
SM: My children are very motivated to protect animals and wild spaces. We have held Earth Day parties and donated birthday money to animal causes. I have always loved outdoor activities and am disappointed when I see rural areas where I bike become more and more urbanized. NCC has a strong mandate to protect land and has an amazing organizational structure for a charity. I first found out about NCC when a close friend also raised money for NCC.
I have not raised money for NCC before, but hopefully this will be the first of many. My kids and I, though, like to volunteer at earth protection events through earth rangers and local community events.
CR: Why do you think it’s important to support for people to support NCC?
SM: I think it is so important to support our land, not only for animal diversity, but for population health. As a physician, I believe that we can prevent many diseases (heart health, cancers, lung disease). By maintaining active lifestyles that are linked to outdoor activity, I think our population can be much healthier. Having more green spaces will reduce smog and being active on this land will promote healthy behaviours.  NCC has such a great track record of land protection and we need to get that message out.  I believe that NCC can work with government and community to identify land opportunities to protect.

Thank you Sarah, and good luck in your future racing endeavors!

Carys Richards (Photo courtesy of Carys Richards)

About the Author

Carys Richards is the communications manager for NCC’s Alberta Region.

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