British Columbia

B.C. woman first Canadian to complete ultra-triathlon equivalent to 20 Ironmans

Vernon, B.C. ultra-triathlete Shanda Hill has become the first Canadian to complete a double-Deca triathlon - a gruelling race equivalent to 20 Ironman triathlon races.

Shanda Hill swam, cycled and ran 4,520 kilometres over 26 days in gruelling double Deca ultra-triathlon

Shanda Hill completed the double Deca ultra-triathlon in just over 646 hours and became the first Canadian to finish a race of this length. (submitted by Shanda Hill)

Vernon, B.C. ultra-triathlete Shanda Hill has become the first Canadian to complete a double-Deca triathlon — a gruelling race equivalent to 20 Ironman triathlon races.

Hill, 37, crossed the finish line on Thursday in Leon, Mexico after 26 days of swimming, cycling and running.

"It's kind of surreal," Hill said on Friday after a night of sleep and several ice baths to reduce inflammation in her body.

"Aside from my feet I feel really great today."

If 76 kilometres of swimming, 844 kilometres of running and 3,600 kilometres of cycling weren't challenging enough, Hill completed the race at 1,800 metres above sea level.

Hill is no stranger to ultra-triathlons having completed three Decas. However the race in Leon was the first time she attempted a double-Deca triathlon.

"Your focus each day is to get up and keep moving," she said.

"I really like to know what are our limitations and I really think now that it's limitless."

The most challenging part of the race was the 76-kilometre swim, she said, adding she feels she's much better at the running and cycling part of the event.

Part way through the race Hill came down with food poisoning and had to battle her mind and body to keep racing, she said.

"It was awful. It's really hard on you psychologically because all the plans you have get wiped out," Hill said.

"I felt super weak. I felt I really had lost all the calories from my body."

Hill was one of 14 people to enter the double-Deca and placed second among women racers. The full event wraps up on Saturday after 28 days of competition.

Shanda Hill cycled 3,600 kilometres in the race in Leon, Mexico. (submitted by Shanda Hill)

She attended the race on her own, but was in touch with her supporters back home on her Facebook page.

"It's always really incredibly humbling to see the support that Canada gives me," she said. "It's really humbling."

After the medal ceremony this weekend Hill said she'll return to Vernon, spend a few days with her family and friends and then get straight back to work landscaping.

Shanda Hill says frequent ice baths helped reduce inflammation in her legs, allowing her to continue racing in the ultra-triathlon. (submitted by Shanda Hill )


Brady Strachan

CBC Reporter

Brady Strachan is a CBC reporter based in Kelowna, B.C. Besides Kelowna, Strachan has covered stories for CBC News in Winnipeg, Brandon, Vancouver and internationally. Follow his tweets @BradyStrachan


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