Jeff’s Joyous Journey

Jamie Heap
Published on December 8, 2013
Ironman Jeff Burbine, who gave a talk and equipment demonstration Satuday at the Joggins Fossil Centre in front of 20 family members and friends, wears the Ironman finisher medal that he received this past October for finishing the 35th annual Ironman World championships in Kona.

River Hebert’s Ironman Jeff Burbine discusses his road to Ironman Worlds in Kona, Hawaii through a hands-on presentation and demonstration

JOGGINS-Ironman Jeff Burbine has come a long way since he first watched Ironman World championships on television as a spectator a number of years ago.

In front of 20 family members and friends at the world-class Joggins Fossil Centre, world-class amateur triathlon athlete Jeff Burbine recounted his journey to Kona.

“I went to university, put on a little weight, then saw some people on my street running,” said Burbine. “I hooked up with the Running Room. My first race was the second Bluenose Marathon in 2006. My interest in triathlon, my passion, started a few years ago,” said Burbine. “Ironman began 35 years ago in Kona, Hawaii. All they were given were the distances (Ironman-Swim 2.4 miles, Bike 112 miles, Run 26.2 miles-Brag for the rest of your life).”

Burbine, who successfully overcame a herniated disc in his back in 2007, was trained by a German swimming coach. He was already a strong bicyclist.

“There’s nothing better than getting out for a bike ride on Saturday morning to Peggy’s Cove,” said Burbine. “A typical weekend might include a 220 km bike ride, then do a 10 K run before doing a 3,000 metre swim on Sunday.”

Burbine, who ran his first full Ironman triathlon in 2010, showed those in attendance the equipment and nutrition needed to compete in and complete this endurance race. In terms of nutrition, Burbine explained that he needed to fuel his body with more than just water, taking gels every half or so that contained sugar.

Burbine was determined to earn his spot at Ironman Worlds this year. “I’ve been trying to get to Kona for a couple years now, but the guys keep getting faster each year,” said Burbine. “This year, I trained hard; I committed myself to making it. My age group is the toughest because the bulk of competitors are in it. You can usually tell who’s trying to win a spot and who’s just trying to finish the race.”

After having already made travel plans to be at Ironman Worlds, which took place over Canadian Thanksgiving weekend this past October, Burbine successfully qualified at Ironman Canada in Whistler, British Columbia on August 25, 2013.

“When people ask me how I did at Ironman Worlds, I say I don’t care,” said Burbine. “Kona was the icing on the cake. I knew I was either going be there as a spectator or as a competitor because I had already booked my hotel room. I got to meet (football player) Hines Ward. He was super nice, more than hospitable.”

“One thing I like about triathlon is that is the only sport where you get to compete on the same course at the same time as the professionals, unlike basketball, baseball, football or hockey. Anybody who is anyone will race in this race. I was just there to take it in. For me, the journey was to just to get there. Now, I start over and try to do it all again, probably at Mount-Tremblant (Quebec) in early August.”