Volunteers give from the heart and Penticton has a longstanding reputation of being the best when it comes to giving.
That’s been particularly evident throughout the years hosting Ironman Canada and as much or more so since Challenge Penticton came to town. With the start of the Challenge festival less than a week away volunteer co-ordinator Jennifer Andrews is still looking for a few more people to fill out the 1,200-member volunteer roster.
“We’re doing pretty good in most areas but we have some areas of concern,” said Andrews, an athlete and longtime volunteer. “I love to race and I love to give back and it’s important to me that this is a successful event for the community.
“Penticton is a wonderful place for volunteers and this year we have a really nice team and I’m loving it. Many of the people who volunteer do so at a number of events during the year and these are people who really care about their community.”
This year’s event is going to be particularly interesting with not one but five national championship races taking place, including the grande finale Sunday, Aug. 28.
As well, athletes will have an opportunity this year to qualify for the 2017 International Triathlon Union (ITU) Multisport World Championship Festival also being held in Penticton.
Andrews added there is not a lot of experience necessary for people who can provide several hours a shift to help out although good people skills are mandatory.
Traffic control is mainly manning a barricade on side streets adjoining the main route and those setting up venues at the venues should be able to lift 50 pounds.
While there will not be as many aid stations on the final race day, there will be additional people required for the new races which take place earlier in the week.
“Along with traffic control, access control (volunteer security for bike lots , etc.) bike set up we also need some help in the transition areas,” said Andrews. “It’s also really exciting because you get to be right down there on the front line and with the lap races you’ll get to see a lot more of the athletes as they come around.”
New this year is the Cross triathlon which will include an off-road cycling component and trail guides are still needed to direct competitors along the proper routes.
That event takes place Friday, Aug. 26, with the duathlon going Wednesday and the aquathlon and kids’ races Thursday.
Valley First is this year’s volunteer sponsor and Tim Hortons will be providing sandwiches and refreshments for workers during the week. As well as the appreciation of the athletes during the events, those helping out will receive some special event items including a T-shirt and a water bottle.
The Monday afterwards there will be a volunteer appreciation dinner which will include a number of door prizes.
Anyone interested in volunteering can do so by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting www.challenge-penticton.com.