Athlete Spotlight: Dan McCluskey, Age Group Triathlete

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CP: Dan, how did you get into triathlons?

It’s interesting how I got into triathlons. I used to bike to water polo practice then swim and play polo, then weights and run a bit. My coach did not mess around! All that training paid off, we went on to be CIF champions. So I was a semi triathlete in high school.


CP: 2. How long have you been a triathlete?  

I entered my first triathlon in 1984. I still remember it was called TriScar. It had an unusual format – run 4 miles to a pool, swim 800 yards with a lane counter, then a 15-mile hilly bike. It was a blast! Maybe because I won that first race overall. That helped me enjoy and want more.


CP: How many long races have you done?

I’m not exactly sure, but I have had the privilege of going to Kona and competing in that race 7 times. I’ve also done 3 in Penticton and 2 in New Zealand. Those are my favorites.


CP: Which is your favourite discipline?

Running, because it’s so simple, easy to do anywhere and it seems to keep up my fitness the best.


CP: What is the greatest challenge you’ve overcome?

Ironman Kona 2005. It was my third attempt at a podium finish. I was really fit going in to it, I had a new bike and I was excited and ready to go. Three miles into the bike I crashed and cracked a rib. I wanted to give up but got back on the bike with the support of the crowd cheering me on. It was the most painful bike ride of my life. I learned not to quit, just pick myself up off the pavement and finish.


CP: What is your greatest accomplishment?

Ironman Kona 2nd place podium finish in 2012. It was a dream come true!


CP: What do you do when training and racing gets tough?

I remember my love and passion for the sport. I also encourage and help other Age Group athletes with the sport. I try to share the joy that triathlon has brought into my life with others.


CP: Who in the Triathlon community inspires you?

Dave Scott and Mark Allen for their commitment to excellence. Also paraplegic triathlete, Sarah Reinertsen, who has an incredible story. We met on a plane and she shared with me. Sarah’s message is “ALWAYS TRI”.


CP: What advice would you give to a new triathlete?

Learn as much as you can about sport. Surround yourself with great triathletes and people who will encourage and support you. Enjoy the process of getting better and have fun!


CP: Tell us about your story

I came from a swimming background but I was always told I had good endurance. In 1984 I put it all together and started triathlons. I love the balance and the lifestyle. Triathlon has educated me, I have learned about my mind, body and soul.

I have raced in Penticton before and I am thrilled to be returning to race long course in 2016.

Triathlon has been a gift and medicine. Triathlon has helped me cope with my ADHD and depression and has given me great opportunities to help others and enjoy life fully.