Athlete Stories

Justine Stafford

Justine has always been passionate about staying in shape and has enjoyed swimming, running and biking. In 2015 she started competing in standard distance triathlons, after having tried a Try a Tri in Edmonton and enjoying it. This year with the new changes to the qualifying process, Justine was unaware of the new procedure this year where you had to submit an EOI (expression of interest) and was so was very disappointed when her 1st place finish in Calgary did not earn a slot. 

Not to be discouraged, Justine then tried again at Great White North but came up short in 2nd place. She kept on, and later placed in Stettler but her heart was in securing a spot in the standard distance event. For one more try she came ITU Edmonton in 2019 and  was fortunate to place 2nd, and doing so secured a spot in World’s 2020! Justine is very proud and very much looking forward to the experience.

Kate Armstrong

Kate is a Canadian from Okotoks, Alberta. She qualified for her first World Championships in 2018, and was diagnosed with Breast Cancer around the same time. Kate had a bilateral mastectomy and continued training through recovery to go to Lausanne for World Championships 9 months after her surgery.

Two days before she was leaving for Lausanne Kate had a bike crash - a possible hit and run - which left her unconscious on the side of the road. She was found with a concussion and decided to push through and compete. After the World Championships in Lausanne it was discovered that Kate had three fractures of her pelvis and numerous soft tissue injuries. Quite a warrior!

Kate has once again qualified for AG 40-44 in the standard distance race this summer at the 2020 Grand Final. This is her second attempt at Worlds and she says she can’t wait to represent Canada and show her family and friends what she can do!

The Skaug family: Nikki, Emma, Whit

Triathlon came into the Skaug family in the fall of 2014 when Emma hung up her soccer cleats and entered the sport as a junior. She quickly rose through the junior ranks and had many provincial and national level podiums. 

Today Emma trains at the National Performance Centre in Victoria with Triathlon Canada. Her passion and love of the sport brought her dad Whit into the sport in the same year where he earned two national titles in sprint.

Not to be left out, Nikki followed Whit into the sport the following year, signing up for six races that season having never raced before. It’s been a family affair ever since!

Between Whit and Nikki they have completed over 40 triathlons in the Sprint and Standard distance. Both Whit and Nikki qualified for Worlds in Edmonton, with Whit racing both Sprint and Standard and Nikki racing in Sprint. In their own words: “we love to toe the line with people our age and go for a rip, Eh! We are excited to be representing Canada in 2020, Go Canada!"

Matthew Callum

In 2007 Matthew lost his sister to Chronic Kidney Disease, and this prompted him to make some significant changes to his lifestyle. Matthew quit smoking, lost 75 pounds and started running: which lead to road races of 5K, 10K and 21.1K in length. In 2014 he and his office mates watched a co-worker compete at the ITU Grand Final in Edmonton, and it was his introduction to Triathlon.

Inspired, the following year he did his first Sprint triathlon, and his first Olympic distance race. He even qualified for the 2016 ITU Grand Final in Cozumel!

Since then, Matthew has competed in over 25 triathlons of varying distances from sprint to Half Ironman, and has been to every ITU Grand Final since Cozumel. He will be racing with the maple leaf on his chest in 2020 at ITU Grand Final. Matthew has expressed a great love for the sport and is grateful for the friends he’s made because of it. He hopes to transition to long distance triathlon in the coming years.

Stuart Hindle

Stu grew up in Calgary, but lives in Los Angeles with his wife and family. Having dual citizenship, he has represented both Team Canada and Team USA. Stu overcame two, traumatic bike accidents. He races in honour of a childhood friend from Edmonton, an avid cyclist who passed away from cancer.

In 2015, Stu was the victim of a hit and run incident and was initially bed-ridden with a back brace. Focused on the goal of racing in his friend’s honour at a world level, he was training again within 2 months.

In 2019, while training, Stu swerved and hit a concrete lamppost to save a girl who ran across the beach bike path, shattering his shoulder blade, breaking ribs in nine places, puncturing a lung, fracturing his sternum and another vertebra. His shoulder blade was put back together with 7 titanium plates. He was told it would take at least a year to be competitive again. However, through a combination of hard work, a positive attitude, he made a miraculous recovery.  Within one month, he was out of the sling and training again. In under 4 months he competed at Pontevedra Worlds, placing 19th even though not fully recovered.

Stu is hoping to compete at the 2021 World Triathlon Championship Finals in Edmonton (his friend’s hometown). Stu says, “regardless of the outcome in Edmonton, I already feel like I am a winner, blessed not only to be alive, but also to be able to still compete!”.

Even through this pandemic, Stu is still accomplishing his goals. He ran his first ever marathon, in honor of the 40th Anniversary of Terry Fox's Marathon of Hope, Stu has written a book titled, 'Weird and Wonderful Coincidences' that should be published in February - He hopes this will inspire others!

Adam De Gannes

We are pleased to introduce you to Adam De Gannes! Adam was born in Trinidad & Tobago and now lives in Edmonton with his family. At 15 years old, Adam is an up-and-coming triathlete who was  introduced to the sport of triathlon by his parents, and trains at the Edmonton Triathlon Academy.


Coach Luis Franco played a huge role in his athlete development, especially in the pool working on his swimming. Adam’s goal is to participate in the World Championship Finals in the near future!

Cassandra Mastel-Marr

Since the age of eight, Cassandra has been competing in triathlon and became a competitive sprint distance athlete, joining the Edmonton Triathlon Academy in 2016.


Cassandra is an experienced Age-Group athlete competing in the 2016 ITU World Triathlon Championship Cozumel, where she placed second Canadian. In 2017, she competed in the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final Rotterdam where she placed first Canadian in her age group. Due to starting university in 2018, Cassandra has not competed at a World Championship despite qualifying each year.


Cassandra is now preparing for standard distance races and is hoping to compete in the 2021 World Triathlon Championship Finals Edmonton. Training has been challenging considering all the changes in the world this past year, however she is determined to give it her best.


Fun Fact: Cassandra is a summer student working at World Triathlon Series Edmonton and is helping out with athlete services and financials.


Alexander Bayley

Alexander Bayley, he is the successful chef of the restaurant Biera and a new member of our Corporate Triathlon program!


I’ve always found the human body fascinating and have wanted to explore how far I can push myself. I ran my first half marathon in 2014 when I was 24 years old, since then I have raced a half marathon fifteen times. Over the years, I ran a few marathons and finished my last one in Chicago of 2019. What’s after a full marathon? An Ultra marathon! Sinister 7 was my introduction to the Ultra, trail running world. It's originally a 160km train run that includes seven stages and covers seven mountains. In 2018 I entered as a team and ran the sixth leg which was 32km long. I started the stage at 2am and got to see the sunrise at the top of the mountain, after this experience I was hooked. Recently, Sinister announced a 80km solo option for the race and I am set to try it out in a few weeks! 


I’ve never attempted a triathlon, but I have always been curious. I grew up mountain biking and enjoy road biking as well, so I would have to say that I’m most excited for the bike section of the race. The most challenging section for me is swimming. Although I have challenges, I enjoy the training process and believe if you put in the hours the race day is just a victory lap. Finding time to train can be hard so I do the majority of mine in the morning. Getting up at 6am to run seems horrible but starting off my day with exercise makes it so much more enjoyable.