Australia's Carrie Lester crosses the finish line in first place among female full distance competitors at the 2014 Valley First Challenge Penticton.

Australia's Carrie Lester crosses the finish line in first place among female full distance competitors at the 2014 Valley First Challenge Penticton.

Challenge Penticton switching prize purse to half race this year

Valley First Challenge Penticton will alternate prize purses between full and half distance year-to-year to help grow event

A desire for professional triathletes to compete in the Valley First Challenge Penticton (VFCP) half distance event has led to a switch in making that a professional race.

VFCP race directors Kevin Cutjar and Michael Brown made the decision to put a $30,000 prize purse to the half is an effort to attract more top-level competitors. The full distance triathlon consists of a 3.8 kilometre swim, 180-km bike and 42-km run, while the half distance is 1.9-km/90-km/21-km.

“We just really feel that even since we’ve made the announcement (on May 16), we’ve had a lot more top-level pros show interest in Challenge Penticton,” said Brown. “There is a lot of people that want to get a race in, that’s a high level race. We’re just not getting the top-level pros to do the full distance race because it’s too close to Kona.”

“There are more long distance races on the professional circuit now, making it increasingly harder to attract top professionals to race here,” said Cutjar in a press release. “We used to see some of the best athletes in the sport go head-to-head in Penticton. This has changed over the past five to 10 years and in the last two years, both men and women champions have posted world class performances, winning by 15 to 20 minutes, yet these efforts go largely unnoticed due to lack of competition.”

Challenge Penticton’s office has received interest from several top Canadian, U.S. and other international professionals, looking to compete at the half distance race.

“We have the potential to attract a very good professional field at the half, due to our location and timing,” said Cutjar.

Penticton’s two-time defending champ Jeff Symonds wasn’t going to compete in the full distance race. Since qualifying for Kona, Brown said Symonds may enter the half distance and try to win money. Challenge Family events across North America have recently notified professional athletes of prize-money restructuring, following similar moves by Ironman branded races, which have some half and full distance events without a professional field. Challenge Penticton will offer the largest prize purse for a half distance race in Western Canada, a total of $30,000 CAD will be awarded equally to men and women for top-five placings in each category:

First – $6,000, second – $4,000, third – $2,500, fourth – $1,500 and fifth – $1,000.

Challenge Penticton organizers insist that having a high quality professional field raises the event’s profile and that seeing top pros in Penticton again will benefit the race, the age-group athletes and spectators alike.

“We’re absolutely committed to the iconic, full distance event, allocating more resources to offer better value for age-group competitors and enhance the overall race week experience for everyone involved.” said Cutjar. “We intend to alternate prize-money each year from half to full, until overall participation in both events can support a professional prize purse in both events.”

Brown said the prize purse of $75,000 in the full distance wasn’t attracting the top pros.

“It’s amazing we do $30,000 on the half, because of the timing, we’re getting them to come,” said Brown.

The full distance race will be an age group only competition in 2015, with awards to the top three competitors in each of the five-year age groups, which is also the award structure for the half distance race. Athletes will also receive $150 transition bag and receive high-end finishers garments.

“We’re not just putting the money back in our jeans,” said Brown. “We’re putting the money back into race to make sure that they are going to have an amazing experience.”

Top three overall finishers in the age group full distance triathlon will be recognized. In addition to the individual athlete categories, two and three person relay teams are also welcome to compete in both distances.


Just Posted

This parking on the east side of Martin Street will be removed permanently Monday morning (June 21, 2021) to put in the Lake to Lake bike lane. (City of Penticton)
Parking removed permanently to make way for bike lane in downtown Penticton

Work begins Monday morning to replace parking spots with bike lane on Martin Street

Jaimee Peters photo of a Willow Midwives helping with a birth. Willow closed its doors March 31 because of a shortage of midwives. (Contributed)
South Okanagan’s only midwifery to re-open this summer

Willow Community Midwives was forced to close because of a shortage of midwives

Gord Portman getting ready for the Father’s Day dunk tank fundraiser for Discovery House. So far Portman has raised $3,000. (Facebook)
Penticton man takes the plunge for recovery house that helped save his life

Gord Portman said Discovery House and Pathways have been everything in his 1 year sobriety

(File photo)
Supreme Court Justice rules Bay has to pay Penticton’s Cherry Lane mall

The ruling found that there had been no unavoidable delay preventing the Bay from paying their rent

Summerland cidery Millionaires' Row is hosting a Father's Day car and art show. (Facebook)
Vintage cars, art and cider for Father’s Day

Summerland’s Millionaires’ Row Cider Co. is hosting the car and art show

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed Eli Beauregard facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

Most Read