Elite athletes from around the world will compete in the Ultra520K Canada triathlon in the South Okanagan and Similkameen this weekend.
The Ultra520K is an individual three-day event with a total of 520 kilometres of swimming, cycling and running.
This is the 19th time the event has been held since its inception in Penticton in 1993.
“This year has been an unusual challenge to get this event together,” said race director Steve Brown. “We had 40 athletes at Christmas time and then over the months we have had athletes drop out or rollover into future years due to injuries and life issues like illnesses, babies, job changes. For a while right after Christmas I told my wife I was afraid to look at my emails with the number of people dropping from 2019.”
This year there are 24 athletes, with eight women and 16 men from nine countries.
Canada has 10 athletes participating, the United States has seven and Spain, England, Guatemala, Wales, Pakistan, New Zealand and Brazil each have one athlete in the triathlon.
Five veteran athletes, four from Canada, will return to the race.
In order to be invited to this endurance race, competitors must first complete at least an iron distance race (226.3km) in under 14.5 hours during the previous 18 months.
Two Okanagan athletes will compete.
Stephanie Rivest of Penticton will be participating in her first Ultra520K Canada.
Rory Bass of Kelowna is returning to the race after recovering from a serious bike accident which forced him to drop out just weeks before last year’s event.
Day 1 (Aug. 3) begins with a 10-km swim in Skaha Lake from Penticton to Sovereign Road near Okanagan Falls. Athletes will then complete a 149.8-km bike ride through the South Okanagan, over the Richter Pass, and ending back in Kenyon Park in Okanagan Falls.
Day 2 (Aug. 4) continues with competitors cycling a 274.2-km bike route from Penticton to Osoyoos. They return to Okanagan Falls, then climb “The Wall” to Willowbrook and Twin Lakes on their way to Princeton where they complete an out and back section along the Old Hedley Road to finish at the Princeton Arena.
Day 3 (Aug. 5) completes the event with an 84.4-km run from Princeton to Summerland along the Princeton Summerland Road. The athletes finish at Memorial Park in Summerland.
Residents are invited to watch the end of all stages.
Day 1/Stage 1 10-km swim, Sovereign Road Boat Launch just off Eastside Road starting at around 8:30 a.m.
Day1/Stage 1 149-km bike, Kenyon Park, Okanagan Falls, first finisher will be around 2:30 p.m.
Day2/Stage 2 275-km bike, Princeton Arena, approximately 3:30 p.m.
Day3/Stage 3 84.4-km run, Memorial Park, Summerland approximately 2:30 p.m.
The event can be followed on Facebook Live (@ultra520kcanada) as it will be streamed from all finish areas.
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