Andrea Horton of Vancouver churns through the waters at the start of the women’s Olympic course swim portion of the Peach City Classic Triathlon at Okanagan Lake Sunday. Horton finished seventh in her division.

Andrea Horton of Vancouver churns through the waters at the start of the women’s Olympic course swim portion of the Peach City Classic Triathlon at Okanagan Lake Sunday. Horton finished seventh in her division.

Bird, Annett take Penticton Peach City Triathlon

When the dust settled at the 31st running of the Penticton Peach City Classic Sunday, two $5,000 cheques went unclaimed.

Not every record is meant to be broken.

As a result, when the dust settled at the 31st running of the Peach City Classic Sunday, two $5,000 cheques went unclaimed.

Neither men’s winner, Jon Bird of Calgary, Alta. or Penticton’s Jen Annett, who topped the women’s standings, were able to best the existing best times in the Olympic distance race.

As an incentive to attract the top athletes to the longest running triathlon in the BC Interior and put a little bit of extra spirit in their step, a total $10,000 cash prize for the record breakers was put up by the sponsors.

The current men’s record is 1:54:25 set by Stefan Jacobsen in 1998 as was the women’s record of 2:04:25  by Carol Montgomery.

Bird crossed the finish line in a time of 1:57:03 while Annett finished the course in 2:22:17.

After the race Annett was all smiles and admitted it was her poor results in the swim which proved to be her motivator.

“I guess for lack of better terms it just kind of ticked me off enough that I just hammered it on the bike,” said the Penticton athlete whose next event will be the Challenge race.

“Then I just kind of picked off people one by one and I got by all the women.

“My strength is the bike and my game plan is that I get far enough ahead on the bike that I can’t get caught on the run but my run has really has improved so it worked out well.”

Unfortunately, for another local athlete the results were not as good as expected.

Jeff Symonds, a world-class competitor in the triple-event races, was gunning for his fifth Peach City Classic victory, but finished third behind Bird and runner up Andrew Russell of North Saanich.

Symonds’ time was 2:03:31.

“Ah, it was a tough day but it was good just to be out here having fun,” he said. “Any time you can race in your own town it’s good. No complaints.

“The competition was good with those guys (Russell and Bird) and having that record bonus attracted a good field. To win these races you usually have to be fresh, fit and healthy and it looked like these guys had all three going for them.”

Symonds added he used the event both as a physical and mental training ground for next month’s Challenge race.

“That’s kind of my sole focus right now,” he said.

“For me I deal with a few extra pressures when you’re running in your home town and I tend to let myself get pulled in quite a few different directions so it was good to have this experience.”

For Bird, who just the day before won the Across Lake Swim in Kelowna, the Classic was a challenge.

“It was a great race and a tough course,” said the Calgary resident.

“Especially that ride out to Naramata, there’s a lot of hills and rollers and that takes away some of your speed but you can also carry quite a bit of speed if you hit them right.”

In addition to the Olympic course there was also a shorter, sprint portion of the race.

The male winner was Chilliwack’s Robert Johnson in a time of 1:06:05 and the first place woman was Erica Moser-Reschreiter of Vernon in 1:19:16.

The Olympic route is a 1.5-kilometre swim, 40-km bike ride and 10-km run. For the sprint it is a 750-metre swim, 20-km bike ride and five-km run.

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