KTown (Kingston) Triathlon 2023 Race Report

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Last Updated on April 7, 2024 by Cory Kawa

Standing the podium at KTown Triathlon
Proudly Receiving My First Bronze Medal at the 2023 KTown (Kingston) Triathlon

I had a goal in ’23: To Challenge for the Podium in 2023.

Mission accomplished.

For the first time, and hopefully not the last, I stood on the podium. Receiving my first-ever bronze medal.

Coming into the race, I hoped to improve upon my 6/27 place at Gravenhurst, 5/23 at Rose City (Welland), and disappointing 15/41 at the previous week’s Toronto Triathlon Festival.

Read on to hear about :

👮🏻 – Visiting Kingston Penitentiary.

🪖 – What makes the KTown Triathlon great.

🥉 – Running to a third-place finish

A Tour of Kingston Penitentiary

Photo of a mock up jail cell at the now closed Kingston Penitentary
A Jail Cell at Kingston Pen

After several rookie mistakes in my last three races, I was determined to get things right at KTown. I was determined to act like a pro and do the small things to ensure success, like arriving a day early, getting a feel for transition, pre-riding parts of the bike course, and touring the run course.

As I travelled down the 401, the blue skies turned grey, rain set in, and my plans were shelved.

I googled things to do in Kingston and settled on a tour of Kingston Penitentiary.

I signed up for the 45-minute express tour, quickly switched to the standard 1.5-hour tour, and wished I had stayed for the full 2.5-hour option.

The tour included viewing the various prison blocks and cells, entering the prisoners’ work areas, passing the familial visit homes, and much more.

The coolest part of the tour was connecting with the former prison guards and hearing their fascinating behind-the-scenes stories. The longer you stay, the more you see and stories you hear.

Why Race KTown (Kingston)

I love every MultiSport Canada Race I’ve done. They’re a great host. They run a great race, and the long course at K-Town is one of my favourites.

🏙️ – Kingston’s a great city to visit with a cool waterfront and downtown, plenty of museums, and some good eats.

🏔️ – It’s one of the more challenging races on the calendar, with decent climbing and a tough run course.

😎 – The looped run course through Fort Henry Heights makes it one of the more fan-friendly races on the calendar.

🍎 – If coming from the West, you can stop at the Big Apple for some of their famous apple cinnamon bread.

🏁 – It was an age group start, so you could confidently race your peers.

What Changed in 2023

A few minor changes to the course in 2023.

💦 Swim Course Tweak

In 2022, the swim moved from Kingston Harbour and Lake Ontario to the Kingston Military Community Centre and the Cataraqui River.

This year, the course was pushed a bit further from shore to avoid the shallow weeds on the return swim. A much-welcomed change.

🪖 Run Course

With three climbs up the hill to Fort Henry, the course in 2022 was not as fast as I typically like and a bit of a killer after the long bike.

This year, the course was moved out of the Royal Military College grounds and further east into the residential section of the base itself.

✅ – Pro: Only having to run the hill to Fort Henry once.

❎ – Pro: Excellent viewing options for spectators, with the ability for them to see you run by four times.

Heatmap of the 2023 KTown run course
KTown 2023 Run Course
Heatmap of the 2022 KTown run course
KTown 2022 Run Course

Past Performances at KTown (Kingston) Triathlon

I’ve raced KTown one other time:

  • 2022 – 3:46:59 – Age Group 10/20 – Swim 42:22, T1 3:05, Bike 1:44:32 (183w, 195NP), T2 2:07, Run 1:14:53 (5:03)

Goals for the 2023 Kingston Triathlon

Bike hard, nail transition, and match or improve upon my run from 2022. With inconsistent swim training, some goals are aspirational, but all should be achievable.

  • 🏊🏻‍♂️ – Swimming at 2:00 or better.
  • 🚵🏻‍♂️ – Maintaining 200 watts on the bike, targeting sub 1:40.
  • 🏃🏻‍♂️ – Running at 4:45/km.
  • 🧩 – No mistakes in transition
  • 🏁 – Sub 3:40, hoping for top 5

Cataraqui River Swim – 7/13 – 40:15 – 2:00/2,021m

Getting Ready for the 2km Long Course Swim
6th out with a 40:15 Swim

For the second year in a row, I had one of my best swims at KTown. I’m sure the downstream currents on the return must help, but I would think that would have been offset by the upstream start.

GPS showed 2,178m in 40:02. A fast swim, but maybe a bit poorly sighted. I do recall ending up a bit off course once.

Top Male 45-49 Swim Times: Carlos Robles – 33:02, Romulo Severino – 35:39, Philip Pelletier – 36:55, Daniel Belleville – 37:01, Stephane Duguay 38:24.

55km Bike to Ganonoque – 6/13 – 1:41:45 – 191w / 198w NP

2023 KTown Note – Actual time of 1:39:32, good for 4th place with the bathroom break removed

The First Climb From Kingston Military Community Sports Centre
Elevation heatmap of the 2023 KTown bike course
KTown 2023 Bike Course – Elevation Heat Map

I had a strong bike that felt harder than it should have. The good thing was I hit my target time of sub 1:40 after subtracting an early bathroom break.

The course starts with a short climb out of the community centre, then follows Highway 2 to just outside Gananoque before returning down Middle and Abbey Dawn Roads.

I only had a few memories from the bike:

⛰️ – A fast course with rolling hills that never pushed the limits too much.

🚗 – Respectful drivers that always gave the bikes the right of way.

⚖️ – Playing see-saw with one rider on the bike, where every time I caught him, he would put in a hard dominant push, and I’d slowly reel him back in, culminating with me making a final hard pass with only a few km to go.

Top Male 45-49 Bike Times: Daniel Belleville – 1:24:44, Stephane Duguay – 1:31:45, Sebastian Becerra – 1:36:44, Matthew Roberts – 1:39:44, Romulo Severino – 1:40:42.

15.4km CFB Kingston Run – 3/13 – 1:14:19 – 4:49/km

Running to 3rd Place Finish at KTown ’23

After a 2km swim and a 60km bike, the hilly KTown run is not easy.

I started fast and soon began to fade. 1/3 of the way in, it felt like the wheels were starting to fall off, then out of nowhere, my friend from the bike came in with a hard pass.

The worst part was realizing he was in the same age group as me, as he said something like, “don’t worry, I’m at least a year younger than you.”

That sucked.

The benefit of the loop course realized that as the km slowly ticked away, his thirty-second lead didn’t grow with it.

With 3km left, I realized that if I dug deep and played my cards right, I just might catch him.

With family cheering me on from the sidelines, I ran with all I had. Incrementally clawing back a few seconds here and a few seconds there.

As we hit the final stretch, I accelerated down the hill from Fort Henry and realized I had him. Now for the strategy: Don’t pass too soon, allowing him an opportunity to catch me, but instead either wait for him to see me, or wait until the final four to five hundred meters and make a hard kick to the finish.

He never looked back.

As we turned onto Navy Way, it was my turn. I dug deep with all I had, put in the strongest kick possible and never looked back.

I finished the race, happy that I ran my race, but not expecting much better than a 5th or 6th place finish.

1km splits: 4:38, 5:02, 4:41, 4:56, 4:49, 5:07, 4:48, 4:58, 4:37, 4:51, 4:58, 5:23, 4:53, 4:33, 4:18. Plus the bonus 440m sprint to the finish at a 3:40 pace.

Top Male 45-49 Runs Times: Romulo Severino – 1:12:28, Matthew Roberts – 1:13:21, Cory Kawa 1:14:19, Mark Anthony Terrado – 1:15:25, Sebastian Becerra – 1:36:44

Transition – 7:30 (T1 5:09, T2 2:21)

It’s been almost eight months since race day. If I learned any lessons in transition that day, I’ve forgotten them now.

Lesson learned: Transitions matter. With a slightly faster T1, I would have been second overall.

Final Result – 3/13 – 3:43:49

Thirty minutes later, I checked and realized I made the podium, and it felt fantastic.

Top Male 45-49 Finishing Times: Daniel Belleville – 3:24:14, Romulo Severino – 3:33:46, Cory Kawa – 3:43:49, Matthew Roberts – 3:44:07, Carlos Robles – 3:46:33

Final Thoughts

Obligatory Victory Shot Made So Much Better With a Medal

KTown is a great town and another fantastic MSC Canada race that’s worth checking out.

Thanks for reading,


One comment

  1. Great read as always. I remember reading most of the Kingston report before so I gather you added some updated info and pictures. Loved the park reviews too. Well done.

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