Penticton and its citizens made a big impression on the International Triathlon Union board member and president of U.S.A. Triathlon.
“Five years ago when ITU dreamed of this concept and started talking about it, never imagined it could be this spectacular,” said Barry Siff, the day before the Long Course World Championship race. “The Penticton setting, it’s going to be hard to match.”
Siff believes Penticton’s setup is “so perfect” with everyone being able to stay in the area and have things to do between events. Penticton’s spectacular landscape with the weather, food and activities, to him it is the whole package. The view of the lake, mountains and course is unbeatable.
While spending time in the Peach City, Siff was impressed by the spirit, especially from the volunteers. He felt a buzz and high level of enthusiasm, community feel. To him, it brought the other racing events to the forefront.
“Michael Brown and his team have done an amazing job of execution,” he said. “It’s been flawless. I’m sure there are a lot of challenges behind the scenes. The volunteers are great, the community, I’ve met a lot of the people who live here, just walking around and they are all so friendly.”
When asked about the complaints from resident regarding street closures, Siff didn’t have much to say. What he did say is people need to recognize the value of the festival to the community. He said some business owners he spoke to felt the impact of the Multisport World Championship Festival had on their business and the community exceeded what Ironman brought in its best days.
As for a potential return, Siff said Penticton had not done anything to hurt its chances after 2020.
“It’s just an amazing venue. If Michael wants to put in another bid for it, which I’m sure he will, I’m sure ITU would look at it very favourably,” he said. “They’ve done a great job.”
The criteria to host the event is race execution, financial support to cover what is an expensive event, which includes prize money. Athletes won a total of $200,000 in U.S. funds, with the Long Course race paying out $80,000 and the Aquathlon, $7,000 at the low end. The organizing team having a proven track record as well as providing accommodations.