Some couples swim together; others run or bike together.
But the Wallers — they combine all three and triathlon together.
“That’s how we met, we started running together and it went from there,” said Shannon Waller, 38, who recently competed at the Ironman 70.3 in Muncie, Indiana, alongside husband Al, 43. “It was an amazing experience.”
The local couple, along with fellow Sarnian Bryan Kabat, completed what’s known as the Half Ironman event — a 1.9km swim, 90km bike ride and 21.1km run — in under seven hours, and they’re already itching to do it again.
“It was my first time, but Al did a full Ironman in 2012,” Waller said of what’s been deemed one of the most difficult one-day sporting events in the world — a 3.86 km swim, 180.25 km bike ride and 42.2km run)
After meeting in 2010, Waller said Al got her hooked on the sport, one she swore she’d never do. They were married two years later.
“And now, I’m addicted to it,” she said. “It’s something that is really rewarding. You train really hard for it. We both work full-time, so we try to fit it into our schedules whenever we can.”
Waller said she doesn’t want the couple to be singled out, noting that a growing number of Sarnia-Lambton residents are competing in large-scale triathlon events.
“It think it’s growing a lot, especially with people in their 40s and 50s,” she said. “There’s people even in their 70s and 80s who do this. It’s so inspiring.”
The sport is one of the fastest growing in the Canada, and according to Triathlon Canada, race participation has increased by more than 300% the past five years.
“I think maybe people are taking more of an interest in their health now,” said Waller. “It’s like any sport; you just do it, and you need to do more. It’s kind of addictive.
“It’s not really about placing,” she added. “You kind of compete with yourself.”
The Wallers already have their eyes on the 2016 70.3 Ironman in Muskoka, and their ultimate goal is to participate in the 2017 full Ironman in Mont-Tremblant, to coincide with their five-year wedding anniversary.
“It’s basically your bucket list of triathlons,” said Waller.
But the most memorable part, she knows, will be doing it with the love of her life.
“It’s something that we get to share together; so we’re really thankful to have that.”