Local athlete excited to represent Canada at international competition

Marcia McRoberts and Steve Benko in their Team Canada gear. March 2023. (submitted photo)

A Bright’s Grove resident is getting ready to travel overseas to represent Canada at the World Triathlon Multisport Championships in Ibiza, Spain.

Marcia McRoberts will compete in the Olympic Distance Duathlon on April 30, alongside her partner Steve Benko of Kingsville.

McRoberts, a full-time staff member at Lambton College and mother of two, trains in the mornings, during her lunch break, and in the evenings when possible. She also trains with Benko on weekends.

“I do strength training five days a week, I run five to six days a week — usually five shorter runs so between four and five kilometres where I do sprint intervals to help increase my pace, and then I’ll do a longer 10 km run on the weekends. Then I’ll try to fit in some biking about three times a week.”

The 42-year-old has been training since September 2022 since the qualifiers were held in July 2022.

Marcia McRoberts and Steve Benko. March 2023. (submitted photo)

Marcia McRoberts and Steve Benko. March 2023. (submitted photo)

Even though McRoberts has always been an active person, this will be her first major competitive event.

“I’ve done sprint duathlons before but this was my first Olympic distance duathlon that I participated in at Bright’s Grove at the Bluewater Triathlon just this past summer,” she said.

“I was pretty nervous when I made the decision, when I got the notice in the fall that I qualified. I have been training quite a bit since then. Just in the last three weeks, I feel like I’m actually really ready for this race, I’m excited about it!”

The duathlon at the multisport championships consists of a 10 kilometre run, a 40 km cycle, and a five km run.

McRoberts said her goal is to beat her personal best time.

“Two hours and 55 minutes is going to be my goal. But just completing [the race] and inspiring my kids to work hard and stay dedicated to reaching their goals… just be a good example, that’s my main reason.”

McRoberts said the program is completely self-funded, which is something she knew prior to qualifying for the championships. To help cover associated costs with competing, McRoberts’ friends and colleagues have set up a GoFundMe page and are seeking local sponsors.

“Just recently, I was informed that the student administrative council at Lambton College has also agreed to a sponsorship as well so I’m thrilled about that,” she said. “For race fees, team registration, Team Canada uniforms, those costs alone come to about $1,500. Then there’s the added expense of travel and accommodations.”

Other businesses or community members interested in sponsoring McRoberts can contact her via email at marcia.mcroberts@gmail.com.

McRoberts said she is grateful for the support they have received thus far and has inspired them to stay motivated throughout the training process.

The 2023 World Triathlon Multisport Championships is being held from April 29 until May 7.