In 2012, the last year that Ironman Canada took place in Penticton, there were 2,500 athletes in the race. The city of Penticton decided not to renew Ironman’s licence after that year and chose instead to bring in a Challenge event, which struggled to get anywhere near the same number of competitors over the next five years.
Last year. Penticton hosted the inaugural ITU Multisport World Championships, hosting five world titles over an eight-day period. The event was a resounding success, seeing upwards of 4,000 athletes competing in the races that included duathlon, cross triathlon, aquathlon and long-course triathlon.
That was a one-off event, though. Penticton will likely apply to host the Multisport World Championships again, but that won’t come up for a few years. Rather than continue to put on the Challenge event in Penticton, race director Michael Brown has chosen to take a new tack – this August he’ll be putting on another inaugural race – the first Super League Triathlon that will include an age-group component.
The three-day race includes an “Equalizer” triathlon that consists of a 20-km time trial on Aug. 17, followed the following day by a second stage that includes a 500-m swim, a 2.5-km run, another 500-m swim, a 20-km bike and wrapped up with a 2.5-km run.
The final day of the competition includes an “Enduro” race that includes a regular sprint triathlon – 750-m swim/20-km bike/5-km run which is repeated.
Unlike other Super League events that have been for professionals and a select group of corporate competitors, age-group athletes will have a chance to try their hand at this unique form of racing. There will be a professional component to the weekend, but Penticton won’t see the big name athletes that competed in the first two Super League races – this event serves as a qualifying opportunity for pros to qualify for the Super League Triathlon Championship Series.
A junior event is also being offered, which will include the same races but will have the junior competitors do just one round of the Enduro race on the Sunday. A team competition will also be included in the weekend’s competition.
As has always been a tradition in Penticton before the big race weekends, a Thursday fun run will be offered to encourage family participation, and there will be lots of entertainment on tap throughout the weekend.
Entries for the unique race in Penticton have been encouraging so far, according to Brown, who says the interest in this novel format has come from Canadians and many international athletes.—tmc