Penticton Classic triathlon gets big name athletes

The 34th Peach Classic Triathlon hits the streets of Penticton on July 17

PARTICIPANTS OF THIS year’s Peach Classic Triathlon will likely feel as good as Kelowna’s Gord McInnes did when he finished sixth overall in the sprint distance clocking in at one hour

PARTICIPANTS OF THIS year’s Peach Classic Triathlon will likely feel as good as Kelowna’s Gord McInnes did when he finished sixth overall in the sprint distance clocking in at one hour

The 34th Peach Classic Triathlon hits the streets of Penticton on Sunday, July 17.

Athletes will take on an Olympic and Sprint distance race. The Olympic distance is a 1,500 metre swim, with a 40-kilometre bike ride and 10-km run, while the sprint is a 750-m swim, 20-km bike and five-km run.

Registration is down from years past, which organizers expected due to the creation of a new Ironman event in Vancouver that took place July 10 of the same distance and is part of the Ironman 5150 Series. Peach Classic director Steve Brown said with many of the athletes coming from the Lower Mainland,  it was anticipated to have an effect on the race.

“It doesn’t matter what you do,” said Brown in a press release. “You just can’t compete against that Ironman branding. I guess we have to be thankful that they didn’t pick the same weekend as our event.”

As of Thursday, the Peach Classic had 290 athletes registered. Last year 350 athletes competed in Penticton.

The Peach Classic will feature local and high profile athletes such as Penticton’s Jen Annett, who won the Great White North Women’s Division in the Half Iron at Stony Plain earlier this month. Annett will be challenged by Yvonne Timewell, last year’s female winner in the Olympic distance. Jeff Symonds, who has won the event several times, has recently signed up said Brown.

“He elevates the level of competition for sure,” Brown said.

The triathlon starts at 7 a.m. from Challenge Beach at Rotary Park with the sprint followed by the Olympic swim 10 minutes later.

The bike course uses Lakeshore Dr., cyclists will head west to the roundabout at the SS Sicamous (bike turnaround), and back along Lakeshore Dr.; north on front St. through Marina Way Roundabout, up Vancouver Hill to Tupper-Middle Bench Rd.; South on Middle Bench Rd. to Uplands School Turnaround; North on Middle Bench Rd. to Munson Ave to Naramata Rd. where cyclists will head north to 1980 Naramata Rd. (Sprint turnaround) or Painted Rock (Olympic Turnaround). The return route is slightly different as cyclists will head south on Naramata Rd.; North on Upper Bench Rd. N, West on Corbishley Ave and

South on Lower Bench Rd. (Around Munson Mountain); back down Vancouver Hill, through Marina Way Roundabout to Front St and Lakeshore Dr. to Transition Zone at Rotary Park.

The run course starts at Rotary Park transition zone on Lakeshore Dr. and proceeds east on Lakeshore Dr.; diverts through Okanagan Park and the Japanese Gardens, along  Marina Way, up Abbott Street hill, and then up Vancouver Hill to Vancouver Place where they will join the KVR. Runners then head North on KVR for another 1.2 kilometres (sprint turnaround) or 3.7-km (Olympic turnaround). Runners in both events will head back the same way to finish line on Lakeshore Dr. in front of transition zone.

Residents are asked to be aware of the course and possible disruptions to normal traffic from 6 a.m. to noon. Information on specifics can be seen in the Road Closure Notification. Downtown traffic will be most affected with the closure of the 100 Block Main Street, except for controlled access to the Lakeside Resort and Pier Water Sports. Anyone parking in the 100 Block will not be able to exit until after noon.

Volunteers are still needed and can sign up by going to Peach City Runners on Saturday between noon and 5 p.m., or by going on line at www.threelakestriathlonseries.com and follow the links to the Peach Classic Triathlon and the volunteers link. All volunteers are invited to the post race lunch and awards in Rotary Park immediately following the race finish at approximately noon. As well as the volunteer t-shirt and lunch, volunteers also are eligible for draw prizes donated by our sponsors.

The Peach Classic is the oldest triathlon in B.C. following the closure of the Sri Chinmoy race in Victoria.