Sister Madonna Buder loves Penticton’s atmosphere during the long distance triathlon.
That’s why she has come back for her second Valley First Challenge Penticton as part of The Pioneers relay team.
“I don’t want to lose it (the atmosphere),” said Buder, who turned 84 four days after competing in Challenge Roth in mid July. “I don’t have quite the stamina that I used to for the long ones.”
Buder will be joined by Gary Billmark, doing the swim, and Andrea Gardiner, taking on the run for the half distance relay.
Buder laughed when asked about doing the half distance and said she is looking forward to it. She also hopes biking the 90 kilometres will be a breeze.
“I really haven’t had much chance to train since I’ve been home,” said Buder, who will also compete in the International Triathlon Union world championship in Edmonton the weekend after Challenge Penticton.
Buder competed last year in a relay team with Billmark and Dyane Lynch, who was not able to compete this year, and said doing the relay was interesting.
She found that she pushed herself harder and improved her bike time by 15 minutes.
“As a team, it spurs you on,” she said.
The only thing that has disappointed Buder about Challenge Penticton is that she found it difficult to register for the event.
“It seems very complicated,” said Buder, who likes to support Challenge Family chief executive officer Felix Walchshöfer. “They better try to simplify it.”
Having returned from Roth, Germany, Buder is excited about Challenge Penticton Canada after having such a “magical experience in Roth.”
“I just cannot get over it. I’m still dreaming about it after almost four weeks now,” said Buder. “I have never seen such an explosion of energy and enthusiasm in my entire life, and that is saying a lot when you get to be my age.”
Buder competed in the full iron distance after suffering a fractured pelvis four months prior. With everything that Challenge Roth had planned for her, Buder didn’t want to disappoint by backing out.
“I have never had such attention in my entire life. They thought of every detail for my protection,” she said.
During the bike portion Buder joked that the “paparazzi found me anyhow.”
Buder couldn’t complete the distance and was picked up by crew so she wouldn’t miss the fireworks show in the stadium. Buder was the talk of the event.
“I’ve seen some beauties, especially in Penticton. This was absolutely spectacular,” she said of the fireworks. “They spent over $130,000 on them. You think that was the grande finale, but it wasn’t. It was a standing ovation. I didn’t even run around the edge because of the high fives I had to honour.
“It was so exciting,” continued Buder. “I felt a little guilty that I got so much attention. Almost more than the pros. They are the ones that work so hard.”