Tue, Apr 25, 2023Athlete Spotlight - Denise Pittuck

Athlete Spotlight - Denise Pittuck

The multisport community in Ottawa is jam-packed with amazing and inspiring individuals. In today's athlete spotlight, we speak with Denise, who discusses her start in triathlon in the 60s and how she is celebrating her 70th birthday in a big way. 

How did you get into triathlon/duathlon?

After being diagnosed with cancer in 2005, I had to really work on my fitness level to stay healthy. As I approached my 60th birthday, I wanted to do something special. I had been to my first Somersault running event in 2012 at  Sydenham, where I saw my first triathlon. I decided then and there to do a Try a-Tri for my 60th. I registered for the Somersault Graham Beasley event in Carleton Place in 2013. It was supposed to be a “one and done” but I had so much fun and met so many wonderful people, I drove home - smiling all the way, walked in the house, turned on my computer and registered for the Somersault Brockville Tri a few weeks later. The rest is history as they say. Here I am 10 years later planning my 70th Bucket List and Somersault is a big part of it.

What is your favourite Somersault event? What is our favourite event distance?

I love the Early Bird event in May. It gets the season off to a great start. I always do the Sprint Duathlon at this event, as it gives me a good reading as to what I need to work on. My favourite Tri was the old Smith Falls Classic where I did the Super Sprint distance. It was a unique late afternoon/evening event and a lot of fun to do.

Describe your 2023 plans to celebrate turning 70!

I really wanted to make this year special. Turning 70 means a new age group whoop, whoop! Coming out of the pandemic and finally getting to see all my fellow competitors again has been great. For starters, I decided to do (at least) one event each month including 5 km, 10 km, Sprint Duathlons and Sprint Triathlons. So far I have 14 events on the schedule. I’ve chosen several new competitions including the Somersault National Capital and Canadian. The Sprint Triathlon includes a 750m swim will be my first time swimming this distance in a Tri. (Up until now my event distances have been 500m.) I’ll also be doing the Sprint Tri at the Triathlon Festival for Women in Grimsby, Ontario in August, Bring on the Bay Open Water Swim and the Fall Colours event in October. I’d also like to try a Century Ride, Zipline over the Ottawa River and I’m doing a session in a Sensory Deprivation Floatation Tank. And of course, start planning for my 75th Bucket List….hmmm.

What is your best piece of advice for someone new to multisport racing?

My advice is to try to train for what your competition is – i.e. if you’re doing an event with an open water swim, make sure to train in the open water, get time in the saddle on the bike you’ll be riding and run outdoors. I’ve met several beginners who did all their training indoors and then panicked on race day just because of being overwhelmed by the environment. If you do have to train indoors, train double the distance. You don’t get to push off a wall every 25 m in the open water. Take baby steps – you don’t have to do an Ironman for your first event – you can – but, you don’t have to. Somersault has distances for everyone and at all levels. Lastly – have fun and enjoy the great people you’re going to meet.

Thank you, Denise, for sharing your exciting plans for the upcoming year and your sage advice. We cannot wait to cheer you on as you complete your 2023 goals. 

Do you have a special 2023 goal or multisport journey you would like to share? Email elizabeth@somersault.ca if you are interested in being featured in our next athlete spotlight. 

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