Athletes cast long shadows at the finish line of Steve Brown’s annual Peach City Classic triathlon in July. (Mark Brett - Western News)

Penticton man goes the (long) distance in sporting events

Steve Brown has a passion for long-distance sporting events both as a competitor and organizer.

Going the distance could be five-time Ironman triathlete and events organizer Steve Brown’s unofficial motto.

Hot on the heels of the successful 37th annual Peach City Classic triathlon, the 68-year-old Penticton man moved on to the 20th edition of one of the most gruelling competitions in the long-distance racing world, the Ultra 520K Canada coming up this weekend.

“I’ve been involved in the sport for 35 years, was the race director of Ironman at one time—either you’ve got a passion for these sort of things or you don’t,” said Brown, a longtime city businessman. “It’s the satisfaction of doing it. You know we put on a great race and people enjoy that and it’s great for the community.”

When asked just how much money the events like the Peach City Classic bring into the community, Brown replied: “Not a clue.”

READ MORE: Steve Brown goes through the paces on the business of racing

Being busy with organizing the events he has not really had time to do the math other than knowing the events bring plenty of people to town.

He’s suggested Travel Penticton actually put together a questionnaire to give to participants, but that hasn’t happened yet.

He estimated it cost about $45,000 to put on the Peach City Classic, with most expenses covered by the entry fees with some minor sponsorship helping as well.

Unlike some of the other similar events, Brown thinks because they are a private operation, the Peach City Classic does not receive any in-kind support from governments.

“We rent the parks, we pay for the highway permits,” he said.

The event was originally run by a non-profit group but when Brown and partner at the time, Jeff Plant, bought the rights to the event four years ago, the status changed.

READ MORE: Downtown Penticton Association calls council comments “outrageous”

He actually got involved with what eventually became Ironman. In the early 80s, he competed in three Ironman Canada races in Penticton and two in Hawaii.

“Winning Ironman is a subjective value, the fact that I finished them all is a win,” said Brown about his placements.

When asked how much longer he plans to continue organizing events Brown replied: “There’s the question of the century. I have to be honest with you, I honestly don’t know.

“Every year you kind of look at it, as another year goes by you think ‘well, maybe I won’t bother’ and then you think if you weren’t doing this what would you be doing and then you go ‘well, yeah I kind of like doing this and it’s probably half a job and the other half is just passion and interest in the sport.”



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