Documentary focused on triathletes

The Last Mile is following Penticton pro triathletes as the prep for ITU world championship

The Last Mile will bring the personalities of triathletes to the finish line.

Produced by Render Digital Media, producer Pamela Tomlinson said they want to show why people do triathlons.

“What inspires them, what motivates them, what drives them,” said Tomlinson, whose family helped with Ironman Canada for several years.

The documentary follows Penticton professionals Jeffrey Symonds and Jen Annett as they prepare for the International Triathlon Union Multisport World Championships Festival Aug. 18 to 27. Last year they won Challenge Penticton and punched their ticket for the Canadian national team with a shot at a world championship. Another Penticton athlete included is George Zradicka, an age-group athlete, as well as two from Alberta.

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Tomlinson said the documentary will give a glimpse of what it takes to reach the pro level, while for age group athletes, it shows that it is achievable, that people can do it while having a family and a job.

“We really just want to bring recognition to the sport. Hopefully get more people involved,” said Tomlinson, who started Render Digital Media in 2011.

Symonds and Annett were chosen as they are loved by the triathlon community and because of their personalities.

“They are just fantastic. Jeffrey is such a humble guy and Jen’s story is so inspiring,” she said.

The Last Mile – Jeff Symonds from Render Digital on Vimeo.

Annett said getting the chance to be part of the production is an amazing opportunity. Over the years she has wanted to find ways to share her story of what she has been through with her epilepsy with as many people as possible.

“Going above and beyond my race blog and social media. This is a perfect opportunity to be able to team up with something bigger,” said Annett. “Hopefully inspire and connect with many more people.”

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Annett, who grew up in Kelowna, was contacted by Render Digital Media earlier this year and did her first and only film shoot so far in February. They did a lengthy interview while also getting footage of Annett working out in her “pain cave.”

“Every time I do something like that, it’s a new experience, it’s always different,” she said. “It was a really good team to work with. It will be really neat to see it all come together.”

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Tomlinson said it has been great working with the athletes.

“What they do is very specific and what they do is for long periods of time,” she said. “It’s not like your filming a sprinter training. It’s more complicated in terms of the technology we need to use in order to capture these things. Their bikes are high speed. It’s been an interesting and a very exciting experience for our crew.”

The crew will follow Annett while she does outside training and will be filming in the area until Aug. 27. Post production will take two months with a release at the end of October.

Tomlinson said her crew decided on this theme based on Penticton hosting the ITU Championships in August. The documentary is targeted to be 90-minutes.

The title was decided on while talking about what the biggest challenge is in doing Penticton’s triathlon. Tomlinson recalls being out there and talking to athletes and the hardest part being that last mile.

“You have already went through an entire day. You’ve done this incredible amount of activity,” she said. “Then there is that last final mile. It really ties into the community. When you are out there, the community is really gathered around that kind of finish line area. It shows how important this race is to the community and mostly how important the community supporting the racers are.”