The next “Ironman” triathlon in Penticton, B.C. isn’t until August but Cathy Kowal, a local First Nations police officer, is still training for what she’s called “the challenge of her life.”
“My endurance hasn’t changed much yet. My swimming has gotten a bit better,” she noted recently. “But I’m really going to pick things up in March.”
Kowal is still a bit modest about her training, as she swims at least two to three times a week and is a regular long-distance runner. She most recently competed in a marathon in October, finishing the race in less than four hours.
Kowal will be among 50 police officers from across Canada who will compete in the triathlon, which will take place Aug. 25 in Penticton. They’ll be known collectively as the “Ironcops.”
She’ll be among four other officers from Ontario, 21 from Edmonton, five from Quebec, eight from Winnipeg, three from Calgary, six from Halifax, and two from British Columbia.
Kowal is the only police officer participating from this area.
But more than a physical challenge, the triathlon also is a fundraiser for cancer among the participating officers. “[My] fundraiser is going to be in the spring,” Kowal noted.
“Unlike the arthritis fundraiser [which I ran back in January 2001], I’m not looking for pledges from individuals,” she added. “I want to give the people an event for their money.
“I’m thinking of a golf tournament, but the date won’t be set until the spring,” Kowal said. “Right now, my goal is about $10,000.”
Kowal noted that as a fundraiser, she’s not quite in the same position as many of the other police officers participating in the triathlon, which will feature 1,800 participants and consist of a four-km swim, 180-km bike ride, and 42-km run.
“I’ve been in contact with the Edmonton police. It’s kind of hard to compete with them,” she said. “They can go to the West Edmonton Mall and raise $50,000 in one day.”
Together, the participating officers are aiming to raise $250,000.
Back in January, Kowal participated in a fundraiser marathon for arthritis at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., finishing 185th out of 740 runners. She raised about $6,000 for that cause.
She then took along four Rainy River First Nation youths to the ninth-annual “Run for the Meatball” fun run in Thunder Bay last spring.
Kowal also earned a gold medal in the 25-30 age division in a half-marathon at the World Police and Firefighter Games in Indianapolis, Ind. last June.
Since then, she has competed in a couple of other competitive running events.