Past winners taking on 30th Peach Classic

Joanne Montgomery remembers what it was like to win the first Peach Classic Triathlon in 1983.

Jeff Symonds won the Peach Classic Triathlon last year for the third time. He will have tough competition in Tom Evans and Olly Piggin this year in what is the 30th anniversary of the race.

Jeff Symonds won the Peach Classic Triathlon last year for the third time. He will have tough competition in Tom Evans and Olly Piggin this year in what is the 30th anniversary of the race.

Joanne Montgomery remembers what it was like to win the first Peach Classic Triathlon in 1983.

Aside from being the top female participant out of nine, the Burnaby native was excited about her victory. She was in second place heading into the run portion, then passed Lori (Nasser) Spence. After making that move she felt the pressure since Spence was the better runner between them.

“It was rough,” said Montgomery.

Montgomery loves the Peach Classic Triathlon, which will take place on Sunday, and has competed in all but three (2011, 2009 and 1985) due to two injuries and her stepson getting married. Still recovering from surgery to her left hip, Montgomery, who will celebrate her 58th birthday a week after the race, has no illusions of victory. The physiotherapist laughed at the suggestion.

“Not a chance,” she said, adding that the athletes are better and she’s no longer in her prime. “I’m going out and having fun. It’s a fabulous event and I hope it keeps going. Steve King announcing is part of what makes it fabulous.”

Montgomery isn’t the only past winner taking in the triathlon. On the men’s side, spectators can enjoy watching Tom Evans, defending champion Jeff Symonds and Olly Piggin take on the Olympic distance of a 1.5 kilometre swim, 40-km bike and 10-km run.

“I can see those guys finishing close together,” said race co-director Dave Bullock.

As of Wednesday morning, the Peach Classic Triathlon was at 272 registrants and counting. Bullock said he likes where the totals are headed. He would love to see it hit 500, but knows that won’t happen. He is more realistic about it having more than 300. In the last two years, numbers have been at 326 and 327. The sprint distance has 78 registrants.

“There are so many races out there so competition is tight,” said Bullock.

Bullock also said this year’s race will be dedicated to Doug Bentley, a big supporter of the triathlon who died at the age of 88 earlier this year.

“He was part of the start of this event,” said Bullock of Bentley, who completed it in 2003 as an 80-year-old and finished in 4:19.21. “He was a nice guy. He always helped.”

Of course to help the event go smoothly, volunteers will be counted on. Bullock said they need three to four more to assist with the run and bike sections. Anyone interested in helping can contact Bullock at 250-493-9270.

There will be some road closures as Front to Winnipeg Streets won’t be available and Lakeshore Drive will be open by 8:30 a.m. The sprint distance will begin at 6:45 a.m. and the Olympic Distance at 7 a.m.

On Saturday, the Boston Pizza Junior Triathlon will begin at Rotary Park by the peach.  There is a late check-in for visiting participants only. The race begins at 7 a.m. To register online, go to www.eventsonline.ca/events/bpjrtri/ or you can contact tbeglaw@idmail.com. The event is for kids aged six to 16. On July 13, all athletes are to pick up their race packages and do bike safety check at Boston Pizza at 1900 Main St. between 3 to 5:30 p.m. It is strongly recommended that riders have their bike inspected by their local shop before departing from home.