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‘Quite a journey’: 100th Ironman for triathlete with Surrey police, business connections

Elizabeth Model completed the Ironman Wisconsin on Sunday
Elizabeth Model at the 2013 Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. (submitted/file photo)

It took longer than she’d hoped, due to the pandemic, but Elizabeth Model has completed her 100th Ironman race.

The milestone was accomplished Sunday (Sept. 12) by Model, executive director of Downtown Surrey Business Improvement Association (BIA). Her time at Ironman Wisconsin was 16 hours, 32 minutes and eight seconds.

“It’s been quite a journey,” Model said in a news release. “I never started out thinking about numbers. It’s always been travel, keeping fit and meeting wonderful people along the road of explorations.”

A Burnaby resident, Model is also a Surrey Police Board member.

She races to support her charity of choice, Surrey Cares Community Foundation, “with a dedication for a sports museum in Surrey in recognition of those residents who have contributed to the field of sports.”

In 2018, Model was the first woman to compete in every Ironman race in the world. She has raced on every continent, and says she plans to continue racing at sites around the world.

• RELATED STORY, from 2020: Surrey CEO’s 100th Ironman race is reason to raise $100K to help build new YMCA in city.

In March 2020, the month COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, Model had planned to do her 100th Ironman triathlon in South Africa, but the race was postponed, as was a race in Oklahoma two months later.

“I think only a couple guys in the world have done 100,” Model said at the time. “I’d hoped to do it last year (in 2019) but I went and broke my wrist putting up my Canada Day flag, but doing it this year, this way, is actually more serendipitous, a little bit.”

An Ironman triathlon involves a 3.86-kilometre swim, a 180.25-kilometre bike ride and full 42.20-kilometre marathon run, completed in that order and without a break.

Since 2005, Model has been doing long-distance triathlons.

She wasn’t always an endurance athlete – far from it, in fact.

“I was very overweight in university, and I stopped weighing myself at 268 pounds, and I know I got up to about 280,” she recalled during an interview in 2018. “As a child I was very, very active, and between boarding school and university, I just packed on pounds, not being active enough. And when I graduated it was a case of, ‘Gosh, I’ve never weighed so much,’ and I just started being active again and eating right and not slumming around dormitories, and all the rest of it, and the weight just came off.”

Years later, around the time she hit age 40, and long after she entered the business world, Model found the energy to run a marathon, and “got hooked” on endurance racing. “I started in 2005 in Penticton, in August of that year,” Model said. “I was 46 at the time.”

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Tom Zillich

About the Author: Tom Zillich

I cover entertainment, sports and news stories for the Surrey Now-Leader, where I've worked for more than half of my 30-plus years in the newspaper business.
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