We have been out to Ironman every year since 2005, both as volunteers and athletes — 2005 was a very hot year as was 2011.
In 2005 as volunteers at Yellow Lake we were quite concerned that we ran out of water well before the cutoff time, and Gatorade shortly after that. Athletes that had come up those hot, steep hills had nowhere to turn but to the volunteers for hydration, and there was nothing to offer.
As volunteers we were sick, felt we had let these athletes down after all their hard work both before and during the race. We scrambled into the ditches for partially used bottles to offer, but still nowhere enough. We thought this would be a one-time problem.
In 2011 the same thing occurred, but water was out at the bike aid stations 6-11, and the Perform drink was out at some as well. If this is disheartening to the volunteers, I can only imagine what it must feel like to the athletes who have worked so hard.
The few years we did the race fluid was abundant, but the weather was not as hot as this year. Is this a safety issue, a strain on the medical system, hospitals, staff and the City of Penticton? Or is it just a bunch of crazy people out for a day who think the $700 they paid will help them fulfill a dream?
I know we’ve brought a lot of tourism dollars to the area over the past seven years, and the other 3,000-plus athletes have done the same. Is there a plan B?