Curtis Sherstobitoff is usually content to stay in the background behind his wife, out-spoken Castlegar city councillor Sue Heaton-Sherstobitoff.
However, last weekend Curtis took centre stage as he took part in and finished the gruelling Subaru Ironman Canada Triathlon in Penticton on Aug. 26.
“It went really well,” he said. “It was a great experience. It was gruelling, very tiring, but it was a lot of fun.”
Sherstobitoff’s inspiration for competing in his first Ironman was his oldest daughter Jordan who was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in March of 2010.
The whole family was devastated by the news and are now driven by an awe inspiring determination and commitment to do what they can to find a cure for diabetes in the hopes of improving the lives of those living with the disease.
Sherstobitoff hoped to raise $10,000 for the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation (JDRF) but fell short.
“Jordan was diagnosed about two and a half years ago,” he said. “At that time I had some health issues of my own. I buggered up my back and I was overweight. I was fed up and wanted to make some changes.”
Sherstobitoff began training for the Cyswong ‘n’ Fun Triathlon in Nelson just over two years ago.
“We raised over $5,000 at the Cyswog. This time, for the Ironman our goal was $10,000. We raised some, but fell short. But we understand money is tight now but every little bit counts. So that was my real inspiration – raise some funds and awareness, try to find a cure for Diabetes.”
The Penticton Ironman consists of three stage: a 4.8km swim, a 180km bike ride, and lastly, a 42.2km run.
“I’m more of a biker,” said Sherstobitoff. “Biking’s probably my strong suit. In the Ironman I thought I would have trouble in the water. I practiced a lot in the water. I came out of there better than half the field. So I proved I was pretty good in the swim.”
Sherstobitoff found the run part was the toughest, coming after the swim and the bike.
“Running is the last thing you do,” he said. “And by that point you’re pretty tired.”
Despite being a strong cyclist, Sherstobitoff’s experience on the bike at Ironman was not without it’s challenges.
“I came out of the water really well,” he said. “I was strong on the bike but toward the end, about 30 kilometres from Penticton I had some issues with my back tire.”
Sherstobitoff figured he had a slow leak, so he refilled the back tire with some CO2 cartridges he had.
“I wanted to get it full again,” he said. “I got on my bike again and within about five kilometres it was flat again. I had to decide whether to change the tire, which would’ve taken me another 15-20 minutes or take a chance and put in the last cartridge and make my way into town and pray I don’t wipe out and kill myself.”
At that point, Sherstobitoff was at the top of a big hill with what he estimated as a 90 per cent grade for about 8 kilometres.
“I just tucked it and went about 80 km/h,” he said. “I was just praying I wouldn’t wipe out. But I made it into town and I’m still here.”
Sherstobitoff finished with a time of 15 hours, 24 minutes, and 25 seconds good for 255th our of 325 athletes in the mens 45-49 division.