Triathlon superstar Lionel Sanders reveals ‘Porta Potty or puke’ struggle during rough day at Mont-Tremblant

Lionel Sanders duly claimed a sixth victory at IRONMAN 70.3 Mont-Tremblant on Sunday, but it didn't come without a struggle.

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Nutrition nightmares, it’s a struggle which impacts so many triathletes – pro and Age-Group – and Lionel Sanders experienced the pain during his win at IRONMAN 70.3 Mont-Tremblant on Sunday.

The 36-year-old Canadian returned from injury (a rib stress fracture) in fine style to claim victory in this iconic race for a sixth time. But that success did not come without struggle.

‘No Limits’ was 19th out of the water following a shortened swim in dreadful conditions in Canada, with the torrential rain and chilly temperatures making it a stern test for all of the pro and Age Group fields.

All appeared well then though when he bridged up during a stellar bike leg to move into position for yet another middle-distance win.


Sanders in ‘survival mode’

It was during the run though that Lionel had the grim realisation that his nutrition might not have been totally on point so far. It meant an uncomfortable closing stretch as he admittedly went into “survival mode”.

Speaking immediately post-race on the IRONMAN broadcast coverage, he said: “Off the bike it was pretty well survival on the run – I was starting to hurt pretty bad at 13k in and I just held on for dear life. I think I overdid the nutrition a bit on the bike and my stomach started to shut down, and it was either like I was gonna have to stop to use the Porta Potty or puke.

“So I was like I have to allow my stomach to settle a little bit and stop eating and like I said, it was survival. I went into survival mode the final 7k. So the terrain is hard, but it was me not running well.”


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‘A rough, rough day’

The prevailing weather conditions on Sunday were not something Sanders enjoyed, as he revealed: “This was one of those days that was absolutely dreadful, walking out the door and being like ‘oh no’. It’s like where you’re hoping to get a flat tyre beforehand for real.

“And I was like late to the swim because I was like freezing and wet and to the warmup, and trouble getting my wetsuit on. It’s just like a rough, rough day.

“And I hate the cold, I moved to Tucson to avoid this stuff and I thought coming back in the summer would be okay but no, it turns out it’s not.”


Lionel thanks volunteers

Sanders later took to his Instagram page to thank the loyal volunteers who had given up their time in those awful conditions to help the day pass smoothly.

He wrote: “This one is for the volunteers. We could not do this without you. Never have I been more aware and appreciative of you guys for toughing it out in some of the most miserable conditions I have ever raced in.

“And congrats to everyone who I shared the course with today – that was hard!! Onto the next.”

Jonathan Turner
Written by
Jonathan Turner
Jonathan Turner is News Director for both TRI247 and RUN247, and is accustomed to big-name interviews, breaking news stories and providing unrivalled coverage for endurance sports.  
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