One of Sanford's finest athletes is a part of the provincial team for a sport which screams versatility. Blake Harris is participating in the triathlon event at the 2022 Canada Summer Games. He says he was the first person to qualify for the games in Manitoba.
"I was the only one in Manitoba to get an automatic qualifier. There was a triathlon series in May with three races, and you had to have the fastest time out of anyone in Manitoba. You also had to have a swim time trial and beat a set time. I qualified by doing that," Harris explains. "It was pretty special to know that I was the one and only automatic qualifier. I know it was a pretty stressful couple of weeks there for the rest of the team when they weren't sure if they were going. So, it was a pretty good feeling knowing for sure that I had a spot."
Harris says he started competing in triathlon events around five years ago and notes he never expected to love it as much as he does now.
"I did triathlon a little bit as a cross-training exercise for hockey, and I actually qualified for the Manitoba Summer Games doing that," Harris continues. "After that, the provincial coach had a talk with me, and I made the switch from hockey to tri, and I have been training with him ever since."
The Sanford product explains he loves the complexity of triathlon. He adds the fact that three simple sports such as swimming, biking, and running can create such an interest test is why he continues to compete. Harris says he's known by many as a cyclist, with that being where he excels the most.
Harris notes while this is a major event, he has competed on big stages before and says he's ready for the challenge.
"I did the Western Canada Games a couple of years ago, I've raced all over the United States, and I did a pro race in Long Beach and in Florida this year," says Harris. "Most of the top guys here know each other from other events. So, I have a good idea of who is going into it, who will be in my pack on the bike, and where people are going to excel."
With Manitoba being one of the smaller provinces, the triathlete says the team itself is a much closer group than a lot of the bigger provinces.
"It's always cool competing with Team Manitoba. Being a smaller province, I know a lot of swimmers, track & field athletes, and rowers. So, I think it's super cool to be from a smaller province where you're close with a lot of the athletes you're going with."
Harris describes what the Canada Summer Games has in store for him.
"So, there are three different races. Monday is the individual sprint, which is a 750-metre swim, 20-kilometre bike, and a five-kilometre run. That one is a timed trial, so the fastest time gets the gold medal," Harris continues. "On Thursday is the super sprint, it's the same format but it's half the distance. On Friday, it's the mixed team relay. There are four participants, two girls and two guys, with everyone doing a full triathlon and then tagging off."
Harris says he will be putting his best foot, arm, and pedal forward heading into the games today.