It’s not the destination but the journey that counts.
Just ask Dan Bouillon, who took his fitness to another level at the Wasa Triathlon earlier this month, capturing first place in the 55+ age group in just his second triathlon.
The Greater Trail triathlete started training a year and a half ago, but has been inspired by the three-event sport.
“There is an amazing whole world out there in summer outdoor fitness and winter training that more people need to know about,” said Bouillon. “The world of triathlon.”
Bouillon started training in earnest during COVID, when the gyms were closed and he had to seek out other options to stay physically fit.
“I started going to the pool to swim for exercise,” he said. “That’s when I had the idea that I should try a triathlon at over 55.”
Bouillon competes in the “Sprint” events, which includes a 750-m swim in a pool or lake, a 25-km bike and 5-km run, and competed in the Kelowna Cherry Blossom triathlon, his first ever, on May 7.
Yet, there are several categories of triathlon regardless of age or skill level, including Standard, Ironman, Olympic, Sprint, Super Sprint and Aquabike. From the Kids triathlon to Masters, the most elderly athlete competing in Wasa was 77 years young.
“The events themselves are amazing and when you see all of the people involved from all walks of life, it inspires you to do more,” he said. “But what is life-changing is the training journey. As you build up your endurance in each of the sports through training you just feel better and better with time.”
The process has been an awakening of sorts for Bouillon, with the realization you are not too old to limit your capacity for activity. He encourages others to embark on a similar journey to improve their own physical and mental health.
“Your back no longer hurts when you get out of bed in the morning, your legs don’t creak when you walk down the stairs, and while you are at work you are thinking about your next training session.”
His greatest personal discovery is that he can still set and reach ambitious fitness goals, while participating in events with people who share the same interests and passion.
“At the end of the day, it is not the event that matters, that’s just the climax event. It’s the training journey along the way that can dramatically change your life and improve your quality of life.”
Bouillon’s next challenge will be the Penticton Peach Classic Triathlon in July, followed by the Cultus Lake Triathlon in September.
“I think I’ve discovered the closest thing to the fountain of youth through Triathlon training,” added Bouillon. “I’ve discovered gold in the Kootenays.”
For more information go online to the Triathlon BC website at tribc.org or check out the Wasa Lake Triathlon Facebook page.