Half distance race to be part of Challenge Penticton in 2014

In 2014 Challenge Penticton will be adding the element of a half challenge to its arsenal.

BRUCE SCHOENNE

BRUCE SCHOENNE

Challenge Penticton is offering an option to triathletes that Jeff Symonds didn’t have when he started.

Half-distance races.

The announcement was made Wednesday morning at the Challenge Penticton Lakeshore Drive office that a half-distance event will be introduced for 2014. Triathletes will complete a 1.9 kilometre swim in Okanagan Lake, followed by a single-loop 90-km bike ride and a 21.1-km out-and-back run through Penticton and along north eastern Skaha Lake.

“For me growing up, I didn’t want to commit to racing a full distance too young,” said Symonds, who placed fourth in Ironman Las Cabos in late March. “It would have been a great way to compete in my hometown without kind of destroying my body and my mind.”

Symonds said having the half-distance is good to get more people involved. To him, that’s the big thing for the race in Penticton is for people to come “and see how awesome it’s going to be.” Symonds feels it’s good for beginners because it’s good training and learning ground.

“For me it was really important to learn my lessons in the half,” he said. “I find when I’m doing a half Ironman your muscles get pretty tired.”

Challenge Penticton athlete liaison Bruce Schoenne said this was an athlete-driven addition.

“Many people don’t have the time to train for the long-distance triathlon event due to family and work commitments,” said Schoenne. “We’re listening to what athletes want and are going to make Challenge Penticton Canada an event that caters to a variety of triathletes.”

The event will be limited to 600 entries, 500 individual and 100 relay teams, composed of two or three members. The registration fees will be $350 for an individual entry and $475 for a relay team. Race registration will be available at 9 a.m., Aug. 26 2013 at Gyro Park and online shortly after. Those registering in person will be given priority.

“We’re really excited for this year,” said Schoenne. “I think it’s going to turn out into an absolute wonderful race. Part of putting on a great race is planning for the future.”

Having the half-distance at the same time as the full-distance, said Schoenne provides a race within a race. There will be wave starts for the half-distance.  The new addition is expected to help remove the lack of activity that has existed between 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., keeping the spectators busy.

The half-distance will have an eight-hour cutoff time.

“We’re hoping that the majority of the athletes will already have finished the race by the time the first athletes from the full distance come in the transition on the bikes,” said Schoenne.

Challenge Penticton notes:

Symonds on if there is a buzz on the event:

“The buzz is that it’s awesome. People like the Challenge Series. They like the way they look after the athletes. People are excited. It might be tough to get lots of the pros out. The ones they get will be good representatives and role models for the community.”