Participants in the aqua/bike category of the Peach Classic Triathlon head into the water, the second wave of about 340 participants in the 2018 event. (Western News file photo)

Peach Classic Triathlon

While Penticton contemplates changes in the long-distance triathlon community with Ironman returning in 2020, the Peach Classic Triathlon is back for its 37th year Sunday.

“We continue to produce a top-quality short-course series of events as we have done through thick and thin in the triathlon world,” said race director Steve Brown. “This is the oldest continuously held triathlon event in the province of B.C.”

READ MORE: Course veterans seize victory in Peach Classic triathlon

The event partnered with Triathlon British Columbia and Triathlon Canada to celebrate the milestone by having both the standard distance race and aqua/bike race recognized as qualifiers for world championship slots for age group winners.

“The awarding of the world championship slots for this years’ race is really the icing on the cake as we celebrate one of the iconic events in the province, if not the country,” said Brown. “Athletes can expect a well-organized and safe race, as well as the opportunity to be a world championshipqualifier.”

There are currently 332 athletes signed up, with 160 in the standard distance, 130 in the sprint distance and 42 in the aqua/bike event. Registration is open until 5 p.m. on Saturday at Peach City Runners.

“We are expecting somewhere around 350 athletes in total, although the ITU (International Triathlon Union) is running a race in Edmonton which is part of their world championship series. That will mean most top B.C. triathletes will be in Edmonton this weekend, and not Penticton. This of course means an opportunity for age group athletes to compete for those world championship slots,” said Brown.

Starting at 7 a.m. at Rotary Park, the swim for each event consists of one loop of the course in Okanagan Lake. The bike course is an out and back ride to Naramata, while the run is an out and back along the KVR.

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