Jeff Symonds celebrates his Challenge Penticton 2013 win at the finish line. New managers or race operations and marketing have been hired for next year.

New managers in place at Challenge Penticton

Two staffers hired less than a month after board cut loose general manager and race director in a bid to get more specialized help

Three members of the local triathlon community have been handed expanded roles for the 2014 edition of Challenge Penticton.

The society that operates the race announced Friday it has hired Steve Brown as director of race operations and Kelly Hopkins as manager of marketing and events.

“We feel we’re much further ahead than we were last year, we’ve learned a lot, and we’re pretty excited about putting out a bigger and better race,” said Paulette Rennie, who chairs the board of the non-profit Penticton Triathlon Race Society.

The society said in October it elected not to renew the one-year contracts of former general manager Barb Haynes and manager of race operations Laura Carleton because it needed people with more specialized skills.

Brown, who owns Peach City Runners, worked on the operations side of the 2013 Challenge Penticton in the transitions area and is also the owner and race director of Ultraman Canada.

Hopkins served last year as the Challenge Penticton professional athlete liaison and banquet co-ordinator.

Both of the new hires inked one-year deals and could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Rennie said the two will be set up to devote their full attention to their respective areas of expertise.

“Kelly will be on the business side of organizing our festivals, organizing our marketing, our sponsorships, helping with the social media piece, so that allows Steve to stay focused on the actual race,” she explained.

The society may still consider adding short-term personnel closer to race day on Aug. 24.

“If we need someone with a specific talent to help us do something for a specific period of time, then we would do that via contract,” Rennie said.

She’s eager to have Hopkins get to work putting together the material necessary to get out and attract registrations and solicit sponsorships upon which the race relies for funding.

Rennie declined to reveal either registration numbers for next year’s race or financial information for the society, which she said is not required to report publicly.

“No business is out there providing their bank accounts and financial information,” she said.

“We’re also trying to build something here, right? And I’m just hoping people start getting around this thing and want it to be successful.”

The society board itself also has new blood with the addition of local realtor Peter Byrnes, who completed the inaugural Challenge Penticton and the 2010 Ironman Canada.




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