|Run along Skaha Lake|
Last year I had the opportunity to crew for an Ultraman team in Penticton. I drove up with my friend John Bergen, who took 2nd in the event, and he talked about his years “racing Canada.” He went on and on about the community support. And he mentioned the time in 2003 when they almost cancelled the race due to forest fires. Several of the volunteers were firemen who stayed up all night fighting fires and showed up the next morning to help with the race so the event could take place. I find it hard to believe that many other small communities could pull off something like that. I remember getting chills when John told me about it.
As part of an Ultraman crew, I got to know some of the biggest triathlon supporters in the city. I remember Steve Brown, Ultraman Canada Race Director and 2014 Challenge Penticton Director of Race Operations, talking about how Ultraman was made up of athletes who really loved to do crazy things (obviously). But the way he talked about it, I could tell he did his work not in the name of registration fees or branding. I got the sense that he just “got it” when it came to the love of the sport, and doing a race in this city would be something special. Not only that, I got to enjoy the stellar announcing by legendary announcer Steve King. I can only hope he’s back at Challenge Penticton this year. Check out this interview with Steve King on Breakfast with Bob at Challenge Roth in 2013. He has a resume unlike any other announcer in the sport – fast, intelligent, and entertaining. The interview is worth a listen.And for all triathletes, Penticton should be special. It was the second Ironman (behind Hawaii) and a place where many of the sport’s legends raced for years – Peter Reid, Faris Al-Sutan, Thomas Hellriegel, Paula Newby-Fraser, Lisa Bentley, Erin Baker, Paul Huddle, Team Hoyt, and Sister Madonna Buder. The list goes on and on. I found this article about some of the other notable events over the years this race has taken place, as well as a good course description.
|One of the rollers off Richter Pass|
Best of luck to all the athletes this year and thank you to everyone for making this event happen!