They came by the hundreds to be the first to sign up for Subaru Ironman Canada’s 2020 return to Penticton.
Tuesday afternoon the line up of eager long-distance athletes stretched throughout Rotary Park to register, held in conjunction with the official announcement by city and Ironman representatives.
For three decades, up until 2012 when the final triathlon was held here, the words Ironman and Penticton were synonymous for many people.
In fact, for Joel Shamaschuk and his family, it was Ironman that brought them to the Okanagan.
“I was raised in Vancouver but moved out here because the race is out here,” he said while waiting in line to sign up. “We love the environment and after racing here so many times and training here decided to make this home so for us it was a no brainer.
“For one thing it brings a lot of people to the community, not just for the race not just for the race itself but people train here constantly.”
Also in line was a professional triathlete, Heather Wurtele.
“I live in Kelowna so it’s basically in my backyard really the course in Penticton is such a fantastic venue so I’m thrilled that’s back,” she said. “The last time I raced in Penticton was 2010 and I finished second. I love this venue, honestly one of the tragedies of my triathlon career was that it went away.”
Added Mark Shorter: “This is the best place in the world to have an Ironman I’ve done 41 and this is my favourite so couldn’t have picked a better place.”
Colleen Stasiuk has done eight Ironman’s in her life, all of them in Penticton.
“(It’s) because of all the support and all of the participation,” said Stasiuk. “Everybody wants to come back to Penticton.”
Susan Falkenhold was also at the event. She competed in the final Ironman here seven years ago but it was to sign up as an athlete but a volunteer for 2020.
“I think maybe in a couple of years I’ll be ready to participate so this is a good way to get back into the atmosphere and the fun,” she said.
Online registration for the event begins on July 22. Over 2,500 athletes are expected to competing in the hunt for one of 40 spots in the 2021 Ironman World Championship in Hawaii.
The race is Aug. 30, 2020.