Racing came down to the wire at Ironman Canada with Danielle Mack running to victory in cold and wet conditions, claiming her second iron-distance title since turning professional in 2013.

Text by Witsup | Lead photo by Finisherpix, photos by Sara Gross


Canadian, Karen Thibodeau was the first to exit the cold waters with Laurel Wassner just seconds behind and were greeted with rain and an air temperature of just 10 degrees. Melanie McQuaid, Liz Lyles, Caitlin Snow and Mackenzie Madison all followed over three and a half minutes behind the leaders and within 30 seconds of each other. Eventual winner, Mack, exited in eighth position behind Jess Fleming and had a deficit of over seven and half minutes to wind back.

Despite Thibodeau’s early lead out of the swim, she would eventually pull out of the race along with one of the race favourites, Lyles, succumbing to the cold conditions.

Wassner took the lead on the bike early, but had McQuaid, in her iron-distance debut, pushing hard to reel her in. At approximately 45kms, McQuaid took the lead and pushed ahead. The three time Xterra World  Champion and multiple half iron-distance champion was displaying her signature strong swim/bike race execution which has seen her successful over the half distance several times. Further back in the field, athletes were jostling for positions. By the time the women reached transition, McQuaid had a lead of five and a half minutes over Fleming, and Mack who had done some damage on the bike to creep up through the ranks.

CK3uX4cUMAA3Y0g.jpg-largeMcQuaid was putting more time into her chasers in the first half of the marathon, but Mack kicked into another gear on the back end of the run making Ironman Canada an exciting battle in terrible conditions. Fleming was fading slightly as Jen Annett and Madison were ramping up their run.

“This race required every athlete to dig deep mentally and physically to overcome all the challenges of the day.”  –  Mack


With approximately four kilometres to go, Mack threw a soul crushing blow to the race leader , McQuaid, and took the lead. Mack continued to the finish line to claim her second iron-distance title in her short professional career, with a 9:46:19 in extremely tough conditions. “There is no exception, Ironman is always hard, but Ironman Canada 2015 took it to the next level,” Mack said. “This race required every athlete to dig deep mentally and physically to overcome all the challenges of the day. I am so proud of all the finishers. Congrats!”

“Thank you so much to Evan Taylor and the volunteers for making it a truly special day. I could not be any more elated for my performance on the day. It is a race that I will never forget.” Mack continued.

CK4AYNMVAAADU_s.jpg-largeMcQuaid claimed second place ahead of the fast finishing Annett, an impressive performance in her debut at this distance, and left nothing in the tank. Annett had a race best marathon of 3:16:03 to run herself onto the podium, making it two Canadians on the podium, and Mack from the US on the top step. “My key to this race was knowing MY plan and sticking to it. Not letting any of my competitors change that!” Annett explained.


Big shout out to Sara Gross for her race day coverage on behalf of Witsup.


Ironman Canada 2015 results
1 Mack, Danielle USA 01:01:49 05:23:53 03:16:09 09:46:19
2 McQuaid, Melanie CAN 00:57:47 05:22:43 03:23:44 09:48:23
3 Annett, Jen CAN 01:02:01 05:32:14 03:16:03 09:55:06
4 Madison, Mackenzie USA 00:58:17 05:33:05 03:23:54 09:59:34
5 Fleming, Jessica AUS 01:01:09 05:25:02 03:30:11 10:00:18
6 Donavan, Jessie USA 01:05:09 05:25:55 03:29:55 10:04:40
7 Orlovsky, Cheryl CAN 01:06:42 05:38:35 03:16:57 10:07:07
8 Fillnow, Kelly USA 01:05:47 05:44:07 03:16:08 10:11:17
9 Wassner, Laurel USA 00:54:12 05:49:16 03:23:36 10:12:52
10 Snow, Caitlin USA 00:57:59 05:54:24 03:20:20 10:17:42
11 Douglas, Tracy AUS 01:06:51 05:45:21 03:34:29 10:32:01
Thibodeau, Karen CAN 00:54:09 00:00:00 00:00:00 00:00:00
Lyles, Liz USA 00:57:55 00:00:00 00:00:00 00:00:00
Frank, Richele CAN 01:11:58 00:00:00 00:00:00 00:00:00

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