As the new branch contact of the Queen’s University Alumni Association’s Vancouver Branch, Angela Saunders, Com’11, Artsci’12, is always on the run.
Sometimes she is busy organizing alumni networking opportunities. Other times she is busy actually running. And biking and swimming.
Angela is a top triathlete who represented Canada at the 2012 World Triathlon Grand Final in New Zealand and is gearing up for this year’s world championship in London, England. She competes against other women in her age group (20-24). The ‘age group’ racers are a notch below elite division racers such as Simon Whitfield.
Angela, currently a biomedical consultant in Vancouver, decided to take the sport seriously because she wanted to do well in the 2011 Canadian sprint triathlon championships. It was being held in B.C. for the last time before other provinces were scheduled to take turns hosting the event over the next few years.
“It thought it was a now–or-never type of thing. I set my sights finishing in the top 10 which would qualify me for the world championships. I had a competitive season and did more training than I had ever done before,” says Angela who ended up finishing in 10th place in the race that features a 750-metre swim, 20-kilometre bike and five-kilometre run.
One of her favourite moments at the worlds was taking part in the parade of nations. She says it’s a big honour to be able to wear the maple leaf on your jersey and compete for your country. Unfortunately her race experience wasn’t as good. It was a windy day, the course was very tough, and she did not crack the top 10.
Angela was a member of Queen’s Bands but not a competitive varsity athlete during her student days. She went back home to Vancouver after her second year in university and met a competitive triathlete who was starting up a club. She signed up with her dad because she thought it was a fun way to improve her fitness, spend more time with her father, and meet new people.
Many of the Canada’s top triathletes are in Vancouver and Victoria so Angela trains and competes alongside a strong triathlon community – which includes Kingston native and Olympic gold medalist Simon Whitfield.
Angela met Simon at a dinner and the two later went for a coffee. They talked about training techniques and life in Kingston.
“That was the coolest thing to ever happen to me. It is pretty amazing to talk to one of your sporting heroes. That doesn’t happen every day,” says Angela.
She has a busy triathlon schedule this season. She is planning on doing eight events this year, including the Canadian championships in Toronto in July and the ITU London Triathlon World Championships in London in September. Her goal this season is to qualify for the 2014 world championships in Edmonton.