In 1991 Dennis was a Canadian National Wrestling champion, and then in 2011 he became an Ironman. It’s not quite the routine path to triathlon going from wrestler to endurance athlete, but not too much of what Dennis does is routine. Dennis placed 5th and 6th at the Wrestling World Championships which led to him playing for the University of Calgary as a defensive tackle. His peak weight as an interior lineman was 298, again not your typical build for triathlon!!
In 2006, he met his current coach, Jim Vance, at Jim’s last professional race in Ironman Arizona which ultimately led to Dennis’ participation in the Pat Tillman 4.2 mile Memorial run. This progressed to competing in several half marathon’s, then to half ironman’s and finally to a two time Ironman finisher at Canada and Arizona.
Much like many other athletes, Dennis finds the challenge that triathlon brings and the desire to get better each day as his passion for the sport. For Dennis, motivation comes from his good friend Jeff Moodie. Dennis created a foundation called Miles for Moodie which helps with Jeff’s ongoing rehabilitation services after becoming a quadriplegic in an accident. Dennis sees it easy to get through tough workouts, injuries or soreness when comparing it to what his good friend must go through on a daily basis. It was 3 kilometers from the finish line at Ironman Canada that Dennis found his most inspirational moment. His friend Jeff was able to cruise behind him in his wheelchair cheering Dennis on to the finish. “That made it all worth wile and a great cap to a 15 hour day!”
Results in both training and racing also keep Dennis chugging along. Doing something that nobody, himself included, thought that he could be able to do resonates through his mind on those long hard days. While starring down a 20+ hour training week can be quite overwhelming, Dennis’ mind set is to take, for example, the 2 hour run workout and focus on having a “great run.” This process he finds to be the most effective and attainable.
Dennis has been fortunate enough to be coached by Jim Vance for his journey from lineman to Ironman and this is what Dennis has to say about working with Jim:
“It's helped me immensely. Jim has been instrumental in my growth over the last two years from a guy who couldn't run 10 minutes consecutively, to a two time Ironman Finisher. He has taught me the progressive, periodized approach that has developed me to where I am now. He has helped me learn to push myself each and every workout, and I've gained an understanding of my performance through the use of technology and data analysis. More importantly, Coach Vance has become a great personal friend through this process, whose personality and teaching influence me not just as an athlete, but in business and every-day life, each and every day.”