Registration is up for 2015 Valley First Challenge Penticton Canada.
Along with increased numbers, a competitive professional field stand to make this year’s event a too-close-to-call race. Among the athletes signed up for the half- distance triathlon are defending two-time champion Jeff Symonds, Jen Annett, Nathan Killam, who finished eighth in the race last year, as well as Vernon’s Nathan Champness, Chris Bagg and Karen Thibodeau, who took second at Subaru Ironman Canada in Penticton in 2012.
Overall, registered entries currently stand at close to 1,300 athletes across all categories. The biggest jump has been in the half-distance triathlon which has a field of almost 600 individuals and more than 110 team entries. The half-distance has the cash prize purse to attract more pro athletes. Last year the event attracted 743 athletes.
“We’re really happy to see our registration numbers continue to grow,” said Challenge Penticton co-owner and race director Michael Brown in a press release. “There’s been a significant boost in the half field and we’ve got a great line up of pros coming in for the event. It’s going to be a tight race … which will add to the excitement we’ve been building around Challenge.”
Even after extending the registration deadline, Brown said they’ve continued to receive enquiries and late entries and expect the field to grow further as Aug. 30 draws closer.
“It’s terrific to see the interest and participation in Valley First Challenge Penticton on the rise,” said Valley First president Paulette Rennie. “Challenge is a race that continues to evolve and the strength of this year’s field shows it is still a must-do on the multi-sport calendar.
“It’s with great pride that Valley First, a division of First West Credit Union, is again partnering with Challenge to present such a terrific event,” she continued. “We’ve built a strong reputation as a community supporter and innovator; putting our name to Valley First Challenge Penticton shows our commitment to ensuring this event remains an ongoing success story.”
Penticton is home to oldest long-distance triathlon in North America. The 2015 Challenge Penticton will be the third running of a the event, 33 in total that has seen more than 60,000 athletes cross the finish line since 1982. The week-long family festival culminates on Aug. 30 with the triathlon featuring a 3.8 kilometre swim, 180-km bike and 42.2-km marathon run as well as a shorter Challenge Half and relays over both distances. Valley First Challenge Penticton Canada is part of the Challenge Family, which is known for providing superior athlete experiences and memorable events.